***For Immediate Release***
November 20, 2017
Contact, Jeff Sheldon
Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed
Office: (402) 438-8853
Cell: (402) 840-7289
This Thanksgiving, Nebraska organizations urge strengthening of programs that fight hunger
SNAP cuts would deepen poverty for Nebraska children, families
LINCOLN — With Nebraska’s food insecurity rate at nearly 12 percent, hundreds of thousands of Nebraska families struggle with hunger each day. Food security programs are some of the most-effective ways to make sure that every Nebraskan – children, seniors, veterans, and other hard-working people – are able to get the food they need.
In this week of Thanksgiving, a group of Nebraska organizations passionate about fighting hunger are urging Nebraska’s elected officials to strengthen food security programs and not to support legislation that allows for drastic cuts to food assistance, which are currently on the table in federal budget discussions.
Work support programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as ‘food stamps’), the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program, summer meals, and “Meals on Wheels” initiatives all help working families, older adults, and children get the food they need to be healthy.
“When I was a young mother, SNAP was there for me when my daughter and I needed it. It was one of the public programs that were essential for us to survive a difficult time in our young lives,” said Ashley Carroll, a former recipient of SNAP in Nebraska. “Being able to get help putting food on the table allowed us to escape a volatile domestic situation and ensured we could meet our basic needs. Thanks to that early investment, we are not only surviving, but thriving as healthy productive members of our community.”
At the state level, the Legislature still has more work to do to reduce the harmful “cliff effect,” in which Nebraskans are at risk of losing all of their food assistance benefits if they earn a slight increase in income, which leaves them in a more-vulnerable financial position.
“Making sure every Nebraska family can put meals on the table must be a priority for our leaders,” said Beatty Brasch, executive director of the Center For People In Need. “With 1 in 5 Nebraska children unsure of where their next meal is coming from, our leaders must strengthen, not drastically cut, work support programs like SNAP, which helps more than 230,000 Nebraskans get the meals they need.”
“A recent report shows SNAP has lifted 34,000 Nebraskans out of poverty each year, making it one of our country’s most-effective poverty-fighting tools,” said Susan Ogborn, President and CEO of Food Bank for the Heartland. “The vast majority of Nebraskans who receive SNAP are working families with young children. Our elected leaders must not support any effort to cut SNAP, which would cause even higher rates of hunger for our kids and seniors.”
Besides the important goal of fighting hunger for Nebraska families, SNAP is an important economic boost to Nebraska’s local economies. Every increase of $1.00 in SNAP spending increases real GDP by $1.73. SNAP dollars go directly to local businesses like grocery stores and markets, and the current structure of SNAP makes it flexible to allow states to respond to unpredictable obstacles like natural disasters or a recession.
“Nebraska’s values of strong community demand that we make sure our children and our neighbors have enough to eat,” Nebraska Appleseed Economic Justice Director James Goddard said. “Strengthening SNAP and ending the cliff effect is the right thing to do in every sense – morally and financially. Investing in the health of our children and hard-working families will ensure more Nebraskans have the ability to get ahead and build the lives that everyone wants.”
The following organizations are part of this campaign: AARP Nebraska, Center For People In Need, Center for Rural Affairs, Community Action of Nebraska, Food Bank for the Heartland, Food Bank of Lincoln, Health Center Association of Nebraska, Hunger Free Heartland, Nebraska Appleseed, Nebraska State Education Association, United Way of the Midlands, Voices for Children in Nebraska.
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