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Food banks cannot make up for SNAP cuts

Food banks cannot make up for SNAP cuts

Deacon Diane Riley of Diocese of Newark says that the state’s food banks cannot make up for the $90 million annual cuts in SNAP benefits. The advocacy director of the Community FoodBank says that these cuts will affect 873,000 people — 10 percent of the population of New Jersy, the vast majority being children, elderly or the working poor.

The Newark Star-Ledger:

Cuts to the U.S. food stamp program will mean 1.9 billion fewer meals for hungry Americans in 2014. That’s more than half the number of meals the country’s food banks already are expected to serve. If House Republicans succeed in cutting $40 billion more from the program over the next decade, another 1.5 billion meals will be wiped out.

Cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program thinned the monthly food budgets for 47 million Americans. Many will ask a local food pantry to help fill the gap. At the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, calls for help are up 50 percent this month.

Further SNAP cuts will overwhelm the nonprofit food banks. Charity can’t be a long-term replacement for government safety nets. In New Jersey, cuts totaled $90 million a year and reduced monthly allowances for 873,000 people — 10 percent of the state, the vast majority being children, elderly or the working poor.

“We can’t make up the slack for that,” says Diane Riley, the Community FoodBank’s advocacy director.

Food banks are built to help solve temporary emergency hardships such as job loss or illness. Should they be expected to fill in when the government decides to save money by letting people go hungry?


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Of course non-governmental food banks, churches, and other charitable organizations cannot manage this. We tend to forget that the government safety net came about specifically because “private” resources weren’t enough. Every day the US seems to be slipping backwards in this area. Time to cut back on the military, bury the notion that we are the world’s policeman, and start feeding our hungry.

Bill Dilworth

Richard III

It’s interesting that we always seem to have plenty of money to feed the military industrial complex and America’s worldwide military empire but we can’t find enough compassion for the poor or the hungry or people who have been left without a means of supporting themselves through no fault of their own because of being sacked by their employer. For a country that so loudly proclaims it is a Christian nation it certainly doesn’t act that way, especially the political elements of society that have all of the compassion in the world for corporations but very little for people who aren’t.

Richard Warren

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