June 22, 2017

SNAP Series #5: Looking Forward

By Miriam K. Tohill
Capitol for Blog copy

For decades, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents have worked together to help Americans struggling with hunger. Our solutions diverged at times, but our legislators and policymakers agreed:

1. We will not accept hunger among our neighbors. 
2. Our government bears some responsibility for helping the most vulnerable among us.
3. Investment in a hunger-free America is an investment in a stronger America. 

In these agreements, we have always found common ground – until recently. As some of our policymakers abandon our shared vision of ending hunger, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger takes on the call to our leadership: don’t slash nutrition benefits, honor our historic commitment to every American’s health and prosperity!

Programs like SNAP – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka food stamps – support hungry individuals and families simply and effectively by helping them to put food on the table. Many SNAP recipients use the program for under a year before regaining financial autonomy. A sturdy safety net catches people as they fall, and sets them up to bounce back.

We can agree that SNAP alone is not the answer. Job training, better education, and higher wages all contribute to our ultimate shared goal: fewer individuals and families living in poverty, and an ever-decreasing need for programs like SNAP in the future.

But to prepare for a stronger future, we must be realistic about the present. 

Policymakers who look away from a long history of commitment to the safety net look away from the realities of hunger today, in which nearly 44 million Americans rely on SNAP. Kicking these people off the program is a diversion, not a solution. And restricting access to SNAP won’t reduce hunger and poverty for those who are struggling – it will only make these problems worse and the solutions more challenging.

We hope today’s leadership in the House and Senate can instead look to collaborate on supporting current solutions to hunger, like SNAP, and on building new ones.

Only together can we transform how it is, into how it should be.


Read all the posts in this series: