SNAP is the Best Tool in Fight Against Hunger

This summer brought us drastically different proposals from both the U.S. House and Senate, determining how we, as a nation, will address hunger. The bill from the House of Representatives could increase hunger and further burden struggling North Carolinians by cutting and, in many cases, taking away food assistance. Its effects will ripple through communities, businesses, and farms across generations.

Rather than helping those in need by providing job training opportunities or ensuring workers earn a living wage, this proposal seeks to take away their food. The effects of these harsh changes will be felt by everyone, including parents raising children, people with disabilities, older workers, low-wage workers, and those unable to find jobs.

The U.S. Senate bill, on the other hand, protects SNAP funding and even encourages new public-private partnerships in order to support job training. Additionally, this proposal eases administrative barriers to food assistance for seniors and people with disabilities.

The difference between the bills is stark. We urge House and Senate lawmakers to work across party lines to ensure that the conference agreement on the farm bill adopts the Senate’s approach to SNAP.

Take action today and tell your Senators and Representatives to protect our critical food assistance programs!

Tell lawmakers to protect food assistance!

 

Even when you have a steady job, it can be tough to put enough food on the table. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as FNS or food stamps) is the nation’s best anti-hunger tool. It helps keep food on the table and in fridges so that children, families, and vulnerable adults do not go hungry.

With the increase in the kind of jobs that don't pay enough to afford the basics, it can be tough to put enough food on the table even when you have a steady job. In 2016, SNAP reached more than 1.5 million North Carolinians, targeting the most vulnerable folks to help ensure that older adults, veterans, and children get enough to eat each day. SNAP benefits help to stimulate the state’s economy too, pumping upward of $2.2 billion into the economy last year. On average, from 2011 to 2014, SNAP benefits lifted 175,000 North Carolinians, including 81,000 children, out of poverty.

Despite its success, lawmakers limited access to SNAP and are considering harsh eligibility changes.

  • State lawmakers also considered eliminating a policy that allows some North Carolina families with modest assets and low incomes—but high expenses such as child care, rent, and utilities—to be eligible for SNAP. This federal policy, known as categorical eligibility, makes sense because it enhances efficiency, saves North Carolina money, and helps at least 133,000 low-income people become eligible for food aid. Learn more about the proposal lawmakers considered here.
  • State lawmakers chose to limit access to food assistance to some of North Carolina’s poorest adults, who are already living on the edge. They voluntarily reinstated a harsh federal law requiring a three-month time limit on SNAP for nondisabled, childless adults statewide, even though part of the state could have been exempt. Up to 100,000 people may be denied the help they need to put food on the table over the course of 2016. Learn more here.
     
  • State lawmakers considered a bill in 2016 to increase the disqualification periods to the maximum level allowed under federal law for SNAP recipients that are not in compliance with work requirements. The reality is that 4 out of 5 SNAP participants are working or not expected to work and work rates are high among SNAP households that can work. Learn more here.
Who's Hungry in Your District?

Every night, people in more than 600,000 North Carolina households don’t have enough to eat. North Carolina has the 10th highest rate of food insecurity in the nation. The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, is responsible for lifting more than 160,000 people out of poverty each year. Additionally, more than 9,700 grocers and retailers participate in the program, pumping $2.2 billion in the NC economy last year.

Since peaking at 17.3 percent in 2013, North Carolina’s food insecurity rate has slowly declined, yet still remains well above pre-recession levels of 12.6 percent. Today, 5.7 percent, or 228,000 households, report missing meals. That’s almost twice the number of all households in Durham, NC.

Click on the link below to see who is going hungry in your district. (Look up what district you are in.) 

Voices—Tell your Story

Share your story about how SNAP helps people buy groceries, avoid hunger, and stretch budgets so they can afford the basics. We hope that your story will help protect SNAP from future cuts that will hurt people doing their best to get by.

       

Download a postcard by clicking one of the images above. You can email the filled out postcard to briank@ncjustice.org or mail it to Brian Kennedy, NC Justice Center, 224 S. Dawson Street, Raleigh, NC.

There is also an opportunity to share your story through video! For video, please call 919-856-2153.

Additional Resources