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Oklahoma-based charity fighting against Farm Bill, food assistance cuts
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Oklahoma-based charity fighting against Farm Bill, food assistance cuts

Oklahoma-based charity fighting against Farm Bill, food assistance cuts
Photo Credit: Alex Brandon
The sun rises over Capitol Hill looking down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, as Washington prepares for the 57th Presidential Inaugural and the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama's second term. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Oklahoma-based charity fighting against Farm Bill, food assistance cuts

An Oklahoma-based charity with the mission of helping hungry people eat says it's lobbying hard to stop the Farm Bill currently under consideration by Congress.

Feed the Children sent KRMG a statement outlining its concerns, and Director of Communications Tony Sellars tells us it's not about politics.

If the Farm Bill passes as written, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would get cut by $20.5 billion over the next ten years.

"Feed the Children has no political affiliation or any agenda other than to feeding hunger and food insecurity and the cuts to SNAP run counter to our goals."

"The Feed The Children team in Washington, D.C. is actively meeting with Members of Congress to urge Representatives to vote no on the Farm Bill. Feed The Children cannot support a Farm Bill that disproportionately hurts those who struggle to put food on the table," the organization tells KRMG.

They offered the following information to illustrate their point:

SNAP and Feed The Children

America’s number one anti-hunger program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formally known as food stamps, helps working families overcome food insecurity. In 2012, SNAP served more than 46 million low-income people in an average month. Since the Great Recession, food banks have seen a nearly 50 percent increase in demand. All the food provided by charities in the United States only amounts to about 6 percent of the food distributed by federal food programs such as SNAP and school meals. SNAP relieves pressure on overwhelmed food banks, pantries, religious organizations and other emergency food providers across the country, who could not meet the need for food assistance if SNAP eligibility or benefits were reduced.

Quotes, attributable to Kevin Hagan, president of Feed The Children

“As millions of families are struggling to put food on the table, now is not the time to cut SNAP. Feed The Children daily witnesses the success and efficiency of this program in meeting the basic needs of the most vulnerable. SNAP works, reaching those greatest in need.” 

"The House version of the Farm Bill would be particularly devastating for low-income Oklahomans, many being children. SNAP is highly effective, reaching 272,000 children and generating $1.6 billion for the state’s economy."

"These cuts would be devastating for families who are trying to make ends meet – whether it’s a single, working mom with two kids, or for both parents who just lost their job. In Oklahoma alone, Feed The Children partners with 100 local agencies and faith-based organizations to serve those in need. The majority of the beneficiaries of our community programs are enrolled in SNAP." 

Facts about SNAP

·         SNAP reaches the neediest and most vulnerable people in our country. The average household has an income of only 58.5 percent of the federal poverty guideline, and 83 percent of all benefits go to households with a child, senior, or disabled person. (FRAC)

·         SNAP enables households to purchase nutritious foods. SNAP recipients spend over 85 percent of benefits on fruits and vegetables, grains, dairy, meatand meat alternatives. The purchasing patterns of SNAP households mirror those of other low- and moderate-income households. (CBPP)

·         SNAP is efficient. Almost 95 percent of federal spending on SNAP goes toward providing benefits to eligible households to purchase food.   Most of the remaining 5 percent goes toward administrative costs, including reviews to determine that applicants are eligible, monitoring of retailers that accept SNAP and anti-fraud activities.  In 2012, the federal government spent about $78 billion on SNAP. (CBPP)

·         SNAP supports the local economy. Economists estimate that in a weak economy, for every dollar that households redeem under SNAP, the gross domestic product increases by about $1.70. The Congressional Budget Office rated an increase in SNAP benefits as one of the two most cost-effective of all spending and tax options it examined for boosting growth and jobs in a weak economy. (CBPP)

·         SNAP works. Enrollment in SNAP has increased because the program works. As CBO recently stated, “the primary reason for the increase in the number of SNAP participants was the deep recession from December 2007 to June 2009 and the subsequent slow recovery; there were no significant legislative expansions of eligibility for the program during that time.”[5]   The recession dramatically increased the number of low-income households that qualify and have applied for help from the program; SNAP expanded to meet the increased need.  Without SNAP, poverty and hardship would have been significantly greater in the last few years.  (CBPP)

·         SNAP achieved its lowest error rates on record in fiscal year 2011, even as caseloads were rising and administrative resources were strained. SNAP has one of the most rigorous payment error measurement systems of any public benefit program, and one of the best records of accuracy in providing benefits only to eligible households of any government program. (CBPP)

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