No one should go to bed hungry
Hunger in America is alive -- and thriving. Thanks to sustained high unemployment and underemployment and the methodical dismantling of the fragile social safety net, one in every six Americans goes to bed hungry.
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Feeding America reports that in 2011 33.5 million adults and 16.7 million children live in food-insecure homes. SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program /Food Stamps) recipients are overwhelmingly the most vulnerable members of society. Seventy-eight percent of all households include a child, elderly person, or the disabled and account for 83 percent of all SNAP benefits.
The present need for nutritional assistance exceeds what SNAP provides. Ninety percent of all SNAP benefits are completely exhausted by the third week of each month. Fifty-eight percent of families receiving SNAP assistance turn to local food banks to make up the difference. Many food banks are presently stretched well beyond capacity to feed their hungry neighbors. The average monthly SNAP benefit is $133.85 or less than $1.50 per meal.
The recent stripping of nutritional assistance from the Congressional Farm Bill places the future of the SNAP program in real jeopardy. Nutritional assistance has been part of the Farm Bill since the Nixon Administration. This never should have become a partisan issue -- it is a moral one. No one deserves to go to bed hungry. No one.