Second Harvest’s Top 5 Concerns with the proposed Farm Bill, H.R. 2.
As food bankers, we are deeply concerned about the House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill legislation introduced April 12 of this year.
North Carolina is the country’s 10th hungriest state — and through our work and that of our on-the-ground partner network, we see this every day. Across our country, 42 million people, including 13 million children, live in households that do not have consistent access to adequate food.
Hunger here in Northwest North Carolina looks like working families who are piecing together part-time jobs but without wages that have kept up with the rising costs of rent, utilities and medical care. Hunger here looks like a senior citizen living on a fixed income in the house where she raised her family, who relies on a bag of food from the church pantry to round out her meals. Hunger here looks like children who receive backpacks of food to tide them over the weekends so that they don’t have to wait for Monday to eat again.
The House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill, H.R. 2 does not work to reduce this hunger, but instead to aggravate this endemic. We are deeply concerned about its language and proposals.
1. The proposed deep cuts to SNAP will negatively impact people and communities across Northwest North Carolina. These cuts will indisputably increase food hunger in our communities. Second Harvest and our partners will not be able to meet the increased needs for food assistance. For every meal the Feeding America network of food banks–of which Second Harvest is a part–is able to provide, the SNAP program is able to provide 12 meals. We can’t make up for that difference.
2. The proposed severe cuts will place additional burdens on already overburdened state agencies and creating more government bureaucracy. The State of North Carolina will be left trying to make up for the costs of these cuts while also trying to cover the additional bureaucratic work required by increased monitoring and restrictions. The impact of these changes will take food away from low-income people with children and move it into paperwork.
3. The House Farm Bill proposal mandates changes to SNAP work requirements that will impact children’s access to food. The changes proposed show little understanding of the challenges working poor parents face due to the high cost of childcare or the nature of many low-wage work environments, including shift-work or irregular or unstable work hours.
4. H.R. 2. ignores the evidence. The House Agriculture Committee held 21 hearings on the SNAP program. The bill does not reflect the testimony that the Committee heard from more than 60 experts, program participants and government officials who have demonstrated, repeatedly, the effectiveness of SNAP to move families out of poverty and to stabilize the working poor.
5. SNAP improves education and health outcomes while reducing healthcare costs. SNAP supports working families in low-paying jobs and helps millions of families lift themselves out of poverty. SNAP is one of the most efficient and effective federal programs to address the persistence of food insecurity in our nation. We believe in and have witnessed the irrefutable successes of SNAP and a well-funded and robust Farm Bill. Lawmakers should be looking to expand federal investment in SNAP.
Year-round, we call on supporters like you to volunteer to support our mission; to donate food and donate funds to support our work. Today, we are calling on you to stand up for and with families right here in Northwest North Carolina by asking your Representative to SAY NO to Farm Bill, H.R. 2 and to support healthy, hunger-free communities.
CALL IN DAY MAY 8th!
Please call your Representative and ask them to SAY NO to Farm Bill, H.R 2.
Here’s what to do:
Dial 888-398-8702 Follow the prompts to be connected to your Representative Tell them you’re a constituent and urge them to vote NO on the Farm Bill (H.R. 2) and oppose cuts to SNAP food assistance.