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updated: 7/8/2013 8:13 AM

Protect SNAP to keep kids fed

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As chefs and restaurateurs, our lives revolve around food. Yet in the United States, 16 million kids struggle with hunger and more than 680,000 of those kids are from Illinois. We joined the fight against childhood hunger for them.

Fortunately, families can rely on programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). SNAP fights childhood hunger. The program makes it possible for families to put food on their tables, even when times are tough. In fact, SNAP is the most powerful and effective anti-hunger program for kids, providing benefits to approximately 23 million children nationwide each month.

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On June 20, the House of Representatives rejected legislation that would have drastically cut funding for SNAP by $20 billion. Congressional cuts to SNAP could kick more than 2 million people off the program entirely and could drastically reduce benefits for another 850,000 households. This would have meant millions of kids around the country wouldn't have enough to eat. The bipartisan vote showed that Americans are standing up for programs that protect kids from hunger.

We are proud of Congress for standing up for our country's most vulnerable citizens, but there is more to do to protect SNAP.

Congress is still looking to slash funding SNAP Nutrition Education (SNAP Ed) through the federal budget process. SNAP Ed empowers families with the skills to get the most nutrition from their limited dollars. We should be investing more in education, not slashing it.

We're in this fight to speak up for the millions of kids across the country who can't speak up for themselves. Join us in encouraging Congress to continue to protect SNAP at www.ProtectSNAP.org

Elissa Narow

Chef, Perennial Virant and Vie

Jared Van Camp

Chef and Restaurateur

Element Collective

RJ Melman

Restaurateur, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises

Chicago

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