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Food Bank For New York City Holds Anti-Hunger Advocacy Day in D.C., Tells Congress: Don't Cut Food Stamps, Our First Line of Defense Against Hunger


Contact: Mike Rabinowitz, rabinowitz@berlinrosen.com, 646-200-5308

Carol Schneider, cschneider@foodbanknyc.org, 212-566-7855, ext. 2231

For Immediate Release:

September 12, 2013

Food Bank For New York City Holds Anti-Hunger Advocacy Day in D.C., Tells Congress: Don’t Cut Food Stamps, Our First Line of Defense Against Hunger

Advocacy Day Comes As House Considers New Bill With $40 Billion in Cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

 

September 12, 2013 – New York, NY – Food Bank For New York City, the city’s major hunger relief organization and the country’s largest food bank, held an Anti-Hunger Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. today, to meet with members of the New York Congressional Delegation about Farm Bill priorities. The Farm Bill, negotiated by Congress every five years, sets policy and funding for agricultural programs as well as critical components of the nation’s safety net.

The nutrition portion of the Farm Bill, set to be considered by the House imminently, contains billions of dollars in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps. SNAP is the country’s first line of defense against hunger. More than 47 million Americans – including 1.9 million in New York City – rely on SNAP to keep food on the table.

This debate is taking place at a time when SNAP benefits are already scheduled for across-the-board cuts on November 1. These cuts will result in the loss of more meals in New York City than Food Bank For New York City, the country’s largest food bank, distributes in a year. New York City alone stands to lose more than $225 million per year in food purchases, which is money that supports jobs in the local retail food sector and the economy.

“We want to make sure our representatives in Washington know we need them to stand strong against cuts to SNAP,” said Margarette Purvis, President and CEO of Food Bank For New York City. “Charity can’t do it alone. Our network of 1,000 charities are experienced and robust, but we simply can’t make up for a cut of this magnitude. Cuts to SNAP will shift more people to food pantries and soup kitchens that are already struggling to meet unprecedented need. We’re looking at a hunger crisis unlike any we’ve seen in Food Bank’s 30-year history, and we cannot stand by and let this happen.”

Purvis, and nearly fifty community leaders, emergency food providers, and clergy members, had a clear message for Congress in today’s meetings: the Farm Bill must protect our vital anti-hunger resources. They urged the New York City Delegation to oppose any proposal to cap or reduce funding, restrict eligibility, reduce benefits, or make harmful structural changes to SNAP. In short, no cuts are acceptable.

SNAP directs vital benefits to the nation’s poorest and most vulnerable. More than 20 percent of SNAP recipients are elderly or disabled and nearly half are children. Ninety-one percent of benefits go to households with incomes below the poverty line and in 2011, SNAP kept 4.7 million Americans out of poverty, including 2.1 million children.

SNAP is also proven to boost the economy, with $1.73 in economic activity for every dollar in SNAP benefits. The Congressional Budget Office rated an increase in SNAP benefits as one of the most cost-effective of all spending and tax options for boosting growth and jobs in a weak economy.

Even with SNAP, other nutrition programs, and the network of emergency food programs, New York City already faces a meal gap of 100 million meals annually. Nearly half of New Yorkers who rely on emergency food are SNAP recipients, and for more than 80 percent, SNAP benefits don’t last the month. As drafted, proposed SNAP cuts in the House bill will raise the meal gap in New York City to more than 400 million meals.

“Proposed cuts to SNAP will disproportionately affect New York City, where one in three people is already struggling to put food on the table. These cuts would be devastating to our most vulnerable communities and to our economy as a whole,” continued Purvis. “We thank the members of the New York City Congressional Delegation who have worked to protect SNAP in the past, and urge all our members to oppose any and all cuts to our nation’s hunger safety net.”

To raise awareness of the issue and support for the 1.5 million New Yorkers who rely on Food Bank For New York City and its citywide network of charities, Food Bank recently launched its annual ”Go Orange” campaign during September’s Hunger Action Month. Orange is the color of hunger awareness. The multi-pronged effort rallies and mobilizes corporations, restaurants, supermarkets, retailers, volunteers, celebrities, and the public to fight hunger in New York City. For more information, visit GoOrange.org.

 

About Food Bank For New York City

Food Bank For New York City recognizes 30 years as the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end food poverty throughout the five boroughs. As the city’s hub for integrated food poverty assistance, Food Bank tackles the hunger issue on three fronts — food distribution, income support and nutrition education — all strategically guided by its research. Through its network of community-based member programs citywide, Food Bank helps provide 400,000 free meals a day for New Yorkers in need. Food Bank’s hands-on nutrition education program in the public schools reaches thousands of children, teens and adults. Income support services including food stamps, free tax assistance for the working poor and the Earned Income Tax Credit put millions of dollars back in the pockets of low-income New Yorkers, helping them to achieve greater dignity and independence. Learn how you can help at foodbanknyc.org.

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