Hunger relief community comes together on SNAP
The potential for radical reforms to the nation’s most effective anti-hunger tool – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps – brought dozens of hunger relief advocates, direct service providers and SNAP recipients together this week. The panel discussion organized in partnership with VEAP, Hunger Solutions Minnesota, ICA Food Shelf, PROP and Second Harvest Heartland highlighted SNAP as an essential tool in the fight to end hunger.
1 in 10 Minnesotans struggle to keep enough food on the table for themselves and their families. And the monthly support provided by local food shelves, including VEAP, only goes so far. Hundreds of thousands of low- and middle-income Minnesotans rely on SNAP to help bridge the gap.
Lost in the alarming statistics are real people. Folks like Renee Kinzer.
Renee never imagined turning to SNAP and VEAP – her local food shelf – for critical food assistance. Like many Minnesotans relying on SNAP support, Renee faced an unexpected health crisis – a car accident left Renee unable to work. Renee shared her story of managing a meager monthly SNAP benefit combined with the food provided through VEAP. The assistance is crucial for Renee and her 98-year old mother, who lives with Renee and also relies on SNAP assistance.
SNAP, which evolved out of the bipartisan Food Stamp Act of 1964, was intended “to promote the general welfare, that the Nation’s abundance of food should be utilized…to safeguard the health and well-being of the Nation’s population and raise levels of nutrition among low-income households.”
But the original intent of this legislation is clouded today by misperception and claims of misuse, despite incredibly low rates of fraud and overwhelming evidence that SNAP is lowering health care costs.
“I don’t know what I would do [if SNAP is reduced]…Cutting SNAP is literally taking food off my table,” Renee asserted when discussing Congressional proposals to eliminate billions of dollars from SNAP. SNAP is included in legislation referred to as the farm bill, which Congress reauthorizes every five years. The House and Senate Agriculture Committees are expected to unveil a new farm bill as early as March and Congress is poised to reauthorize the farm bill in 2018.