Your Role as an Advocate in Ending Hunger

I recently saw a thought-provoking documentary called Place at the Table which is about hunger in America. There was a panel discussion afterwards and, long story short, a very passionate woman named Nancy Amidei, who runs the Civic Engagement Project, galvanized me (and I am sure some others) in sort of waking up from a passive stupor and realizing there are some small steps you can take in being an advocate without it being very painful (I’m going to write about this film in a future post.).

Anyway, I wanted to share real briefly here a small thing I did that you can do too. It involves SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a government assistance program to help low-income households pay for food. SNAP used to be called the Food Stamp program. The amount of SNAP food stamps a household gets depends on the household’s size, income, and expenses. (from MassResources.org website)

Congress has until September 30th to pass the Farm Bill, which includes policies for both farm subsidies AND food stamps (and these have been paired under the bill, apparently for political reasons, which I don’t have a clue about). Read this article to learn more.

“While the bill has not been made public, it is almost certain to include unprecedented cuts of up to $40 billion from SNAP, push more families and children out of eligibility for food aid, and strip out vital policy and programs that make SNAP one of the most effective, bi-partisan programs in American history.” (from Eastsideforum.org website)

If you saw this movie, Place at the Table, you would want to take action to prevent these deep cuts. It is ridiculous that there are so many hungry people in our nation, which is the wealthiest on the planet and produces enough food to feed everyone.

So, here’s the simple thing I did: The Eastside Human Services Forum provides a link through the Poverty Action Network where you can list your name on a form letter stating NOT to cut funding for SNAP, that goes directly to your representative. Hopefully Jim McDermott, who is my representative here in WA state, will be reading my note to him! For those out of state, check out the Food Action and Research Center’s site for how to advocate for SNAP.

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