Congress is poised to cut food stamps, taking away an extended benefit created by the 2009 stimulus before its original expiry date and setting up an unprecedented â€œcliffâ€ in food stamps, now known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits. To demonstrate how hurtful this might prove, anti-hunger advocate Joel Berg recently spent a week eating according to the SNAP budget.
â€œI had done it in 2007, as well,â€ he said. â€œThis time, it was much harder, because the price of food has increased more than the benefit has increased. Last time, for instance, I ate an apple a day, along with other food. This time, I couldnâ€™t afford a single piece of fruit.â€
Berg is the executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, which represents New Yorkâ€™s 1,200 nonprofit soup kitchens and food pantries and its 1.4 million residents that cannot afford enough food. (A more extended version of our conversation is below.) He and other hunger advocates are incensed over the SNAP cuts, which will pay for a sweeping child-nutrition bill. The First Ladyâ€“supported legislation is pending in the House, and has passed the Senate. In essence, Congress is planning to rob a very poor Peter to pay a very poor Paul.
When we see problems like hunger, why do we rely on the government to solve it? Wouldn’t it be better for people to voluntarily help with these things?
When historical illiteracy rears its ugly head….