Why We Need Food Assistance Now More Than Ever - Capital Area Food Bank
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Why We Need Food Assistance Now More Than Ever

By Matthew Young July 13, 2012

Lately, some prominent nationwide press has supported slashing funding on food assistance, including a USA Today July 4th editorial “Food stamps expansion driven by politics.”
While we appreciate the public discourse on such a basic domestic issue as food access and security, we at the Capital Area Food Bank strongly disagree with the notion that “growth in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is being driven by politics as usual.”
Granted, the piece cites accurate statistics, including the very real number of 46 million Americans who find themselves in need of SNAP and other food assistance. Yet, as one might choose to dismiss this number, there comes an inevitable truth. With 46 million Americans in need of food assistance, we need more money and resources on reserve to provide for the health and well-being of Americans of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
Our food bank is proud of our mission – “to feed those who suffer from hunger in the Washington metro area by acquiring food and distributing it through its network of partner agencies; and educating, empowering and enlightening the community about the issues of hunger and nutrition.
We are able to distribute over 30 million pounds of foodstuffs in this year; to work with over 700 partner agencies; and, to provide food aid to over 480,000 people in the D.C./Maryland/Northern Virginia region. Federal food assistance such as SNAP and other sources provides an important supplement to our mission. While we cannot thank corporate sponsors, foundations, and individual donors enough for their contributions, we must recognize the value of federal funding.
Furthermore, according to a USA Today poll of people who agree and disagree with the editorial’s conclusions, over 55 percent strongly disagreed with the idea of cutting further on food stamps compared to the 29 percent who strongly agreed. It would seem not merely an organizational bias, but rather popular opinion that we should continue to maintain federal food assistance funds at present levels (if not increase them).
In this year especially, an election year, shouldn’t the peoples’ voices count for something?