100 signatures reached
To: USA Senators and President Obama
Stand Strong Against Cuts To Food Stamps
Please support Sharon N., and 47 million Americans, by standing strong against further cuts to food stamps during the farm bill negotiations. Starting November 1, all SNAP participants will have their benefits cut making it harder for struggling families to put food on the table and shifting more vulnerable families to local charities to get help making ends meet.
You have an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of hungry Americans. Recently, the House of Representatives voted to cut $39 billion from SNAP, which will bring new hardships to struggling Americans and their families. As Congress moves toward a conference committee to iron out the differences between the House and Senate Farm Bills, I hope you will work with your colleagues to protect and strengthen hunger-relief programs like the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). With unemployment still high and many Americans struggling to make ends meet, Congress cannot cut the programs that are helping many of our neighbors put food on the table.
We know that a population too malnourished to work suffers long-term economic consequences. Individuals can suffer a 10 percent reduction in their lifetime earnings, while countries can see 2 to 3 percent annual reductions in their GDP. For
every 5 percent drop in income growth in a developing country, the likelihood of violent conflict or war within the next year increases by 10 percent.
Hunger has a cost to our childrens' ability to learn. According to The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)'s survey of families living below 185 percent of poverty -- the Community Childhood Hunger Identification Project (CCHIP) -- hungry children suffer from two to four times as many individual health problems, such as unwanted weight loss, fatigue, headaches, irritability, inability to concentrate and frequent colds, as low-income children whose families do not experience food shortages. This relationship between hunger and health problems was unaffected by income. In other words, hunger had a strong effect on children's health no matter what the income level of their families.
According to CCHIP, hungry children are more likely to be ill and absent from school.
By providing people with the tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty, we create a more stable world. Given the associated healthcare, educational, and economic costs of hunger and poor nutrition, these cuts are short-sighted and very costly in the long run.
Sharon N., whose husband is a veteran, cares for her grandchildren during the week. Like so many people, Sharon fell on hard times unexpectedly and relies on food stamps to stay afloat. Whether or not you've ever been on food stamps, you might relate to what she wrote:
My husband and I are using food stamps today. My husband was laid off 2 years ago and he and I have been looking for employment here in Michigan and have put in job applications all over and still no luck. Unemployment ran out in May of this year and so we have no income coming in at all. The only help that we receive is food stamps which was just cut this month. -- Sharon N., Detroit, MI
Why is this important?
Please join me in speaking up for folks that receive nutrition assistance from the federal government. While not a perfect system, this is the first fall-back that folks out-of-work have to keep on an even keel with regards to other aspects of their lives. When a person is hungry, it becomes hard for them to think straight and that has all sorts of ramifications across the board in people's lives. What we need to do, rather than cutting this benefit is work on finding ways to continue to make healthy food options accessible to anyone faced with a limited income. That's my 2cents. Thanks for taking the time.
Food Hardship Report http://frac.org/pdf/food_hardship_2012.pdf
How it will be delivered
Folks, I hope you will forward this petition on to your friends across the country. It would be great if you printed off a version of this letter and sent it to your congressperson personally. I pledge that if we get more than say 35,000 signatures I will make sure each and every senator is aware of this petition and that the will of people as we point out a way for them to move forward with nutrition assistance.