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5/17/2013 - Potential Cuts to SNAP Could Devastate Community

Manchester, NH [May 17, 2013] ? The New Hampshire Food Bank is disappointed by the House Agriculture Committee’s vote to slash spending on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $21 billion.  The NH Food Bank and other local charities are already stretched to the breaking point trying to keep up with increased need as families in New Hampshire continue to feel the impact of the recession. 

Gosselin explained, “Cuts to SNAP, or food stamps, would be devastating to our community, and charities like ours cannot make up the difference. Make no mistake, these cuts to SNAP will take food from the refrigerators and kitchen tables of vulnerable low-income families struggling to get back on their feet in the wake of the recession. Nationally two million people will lose benefits entirely, 210,000 kids will lose access to free school meals and another 850,000 households will see their benefits cut by an average of $90 per month. “

“These cuts come on top of across-the-board cuts for all SNAP beneficiaries beginning in November that will lower benefits by about $25 for a family of three,” said Gosselin. “That may not seem like much to you or me, but for a family scraping by, it matters a lot. A family of 3 living in poverty is living on $18,310 a year. A cut of $25 a month is going to make a difference in the amount of food they are able to purchase.”

“SNAP spending will constrict automatically as our economy recovers and people go back to work. Until then, we need to ensure that families  who have fallen on hard times can still put food on the table,” Gosselin continued. “Pulling the rug out from under low-income families by cutting SNAP at a time when the need for food assistance has never been greater is unfair and short-sighted.” 

SNAP benefits average less than $1.50 per person per meal and over 90 percent of benefits are spent by day 21 of the month, leaving many families to turn to local charities to make ends meet. SNAP is targeted at our most vulnerable: 83 percent of SNAP households include a child, elderly person, or disabled person, and 91 percent of benefits go to households with gross income gross income at or below 100 percent of the poverty line. 

“These cuts include a 50 percent cut to SNAP-ed that will cripple our nutrition education program Cooking Matters®.  50% of these classes are offered in partnership with UNH Cooperative Extension nutritionists who will be unable to continue this level of support after cuts included in this farm bill. These classes provide low-income families, children and adults with the opportunity to learn about healthy food options and improve their cooking skills. Students learn how to make healthy food choices while stretching their food dollars. This program complements SNAP by helping recipients best utilize their benefits.”

“Deficit reduction is an important national priority, but it must not be undertaken without regard to our national values and it must not come at the expense of our most vulnerable,” Gosselin said.  “On behalf of the more than 143,000 food insecure individuals living in NH I urge Representatives Kuster and Shea-Porter to work to restore SNAP and SNAP-ed cuts on the House floor.”

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About the New Hampshire Food Bank
The New Hampshire Food Bank, a program of New Hampshire Catholic Charities, has been working to relieve hunger in the Granite State since 1984.  As the state’s only food bank, the New Hampshire Food Bank efficiently procures and distributes nearly 8.5 million pounds of food to needy people through more than 400 non-profit partner agencies. Agencies include food pantries, neighborhood centers, low-income housing sites, senior nutrition centers, family crisis centers, hospices, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, after school programs, and day care centers.  For more information about the New Hampshire Food Bank, please visit www.nhfoodbank.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nhfoodbank or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nhfb. 

Contact Information

Nancy Mellitt, New Hampshire Food Bank, nmellitt@nhfoodbank.org 

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