No one wants people who need help the most, including children, seniors and veterans, to go hungry. But one in six children in the United States — approximately 13 million — don’t know where their next meal is coming from. That’s enough students to fill 180,555 school buses. Here in Madison County, Indiana, 15% of our neighbors are struggling to feed their families.
United Way of Madison County fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community, which includes making sure they have enough to eat. That’s why we advocate for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which helps working Hoosiers keep food on the table during tough times. Nutritious food helps people stay healthy, so it’s easier to get and keep a job and take care of their families. Kids who have a healthy diet do better in school and have higher graduation rates, while older Americans who receive SNAP benefits can better afford their prescription medications on their fixed incomes.
SNAP makes food accessible to hungry families more cost-effectively and at a scale no independent nonprofit can match. For example, SNAP is a $65 billion program; United Way raises $3.6 billion each year across the United States. Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, distributes four billion meals each year. For every meal provided by the Feeding America network, SNAP provides 12.
Currently, Congress is debating the Farm Bill, which will determine the future of SNAP. Some suggested provisions would strengthen SNAP, but other proposals would make indiscriminate cuts to SNAP, hurting families in our community who are already working or seeking work, forcing them to skip meals or put their children to bed hungry.
If SNAP is cut, food banks that are already stretched thin would be overrun with demand. A 5 percent cut in SNAP would be equivalent to eliminating United Way’s entire footprint across America.
Call your members of Congress and encourage them to support the bipartisan provisions that preserve and improve SNAP included in the Farm Bill passed by the Senate. By working together, we will make sure no one in our community goes hungry.