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Capital Area Food Bank Statement on the Release of the President’s Fiscal Year 2021 Budget

By Radha Muthiah February 12, 2020

Statement attributed to Radha Muthiah, CEO

“More than 37 million people across the country, including nearly 400,000 in the Washington metro region, struggle to put food on the table. The Capital Area Food Bank understands the importance of ensuring our decision-makers continue to strengthen the nation’s hunger-relief and anti-poverty programs for those who have fallen on hard times. Unfortunately, the fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget proposed by the Administration jeopardizes funding for those programs, putting the health and well-being of our most vulnerable neighbors at risk.”

“The Capital Area Food Bank is deeply disappointed by the budget’s severe proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — the first line of defense against hunger for millions of people who are low-income. The massive proposed cuts come amid a series of proposed SNAP rule changes that would also drive up rates of hunger across the U.S., including a rule that is expected to slash access to food assistance for hundreds of thousands of  individuals experiencing difficulty with finding stable, adequate employment. In our region alone, over 15,000 people will be impacted by this change.”

“Additionally, the President’s budget revives an ill-informed call to replace some SNAP benefits with so-called ‘harvest boxes’ filled with pre-packaged, standardized food of inconsistent nutritional quality. The food boxes would undercut the impact of SNAP by making the program more costly and administratively burdensome, leaving more people without food in their pantries.”

“The Capital Area Food Bank knows that the implementation of the budget’s proposed program changes and cuts would result in gaping holes in federal food assistance that private charity would not be able to fill. The diminished SNAP funding alone would create an increase in demand that the charitable sector would find difficult to meet. In fact, for each meal that the 200 member food banks of the Feeding America network (including ours) provides, SNAP provides nine.”

“As it stands, this proposed budget is devastating for children, seniors, hard-working families, and so many others, in our community and elsewhere, striving to make ends meet. As Congress prepares for its budget process, the Capital Area Food Bank urges them to prioritize maintaining strong hunger-relief and anti-poverty programs for households working to get back on their feet.”