Friday I received important reminders from the Wisconsin Council of Churches on SNAP, and I’m repeating many of them here:
Food Share Cuts Mean More Demands on Emergency Food Providers
Share your story and tell Congress not to cut anti-hunger programs
“If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.” Isaiah 58:10
Although the recession has “officially” ended, people in Wisconsin are still struggling economically. Poverty remains high, there is still only one job opening for every three unemployed job-seekers, and wages have not rebounded to pre-recession levels. Yet the temporary boost in the food assistance program known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, called “FoodShare” in Wisconsin) has been allowed to expire, and Congress is poised to make further, drastic cuts in the program.
The expiration of the SNAP increase means that nearly 900,000 Wisconsinites – 40% of them children – will see a decrease in their benefits. Not only children, but seniors, veterans, and low-wage workers will have their already-meager assistance – $1.30 per meal, on average – reduced. What will they do? Some will cut back on eating in order to pay their utility bills or for transportation to their job. Or they may skip buying their medicines in order to pay for food. Parents may go hungry so their children can eat.
Where will they go? Possibly to a food pantry or soup kitchen operated or supported by your church. But these emergency food providers are already stressed and overstretched from dealing with the continuing effects of the recession.
Your representatives in Congress need to know how important FoodShare is for your community and for the men, women and children served by your congregation.
Right now, a conference committee is starting to hammer out a compromise between the House, which wants to cut $40 billion from SNAP in the next 10 years, and the Senate, which wants to cut $4 billion over the same period.
Congress needs to hear from you that feeding the hungry is a moral and religious value, and they need to hear your stories of how cutting food assistance is affecting your community and its emergency food programs.
He starts much like the Council of Churches, and then suggests action steps for Covenant Discipleship Groups. He further relates ministry with the poor to Wesleyan tradition. This is good stuff!
He closes with this excellent verse by Charles Wesley:
Work for the weak, and sick, and poor
Raiment and food for them procure,
And mindful of God’s word,
Enjoy the blessedness to give,
Lay out your gettings to relieve
The members of your Lord.
“Your labor which proceeds from love,
Jesus shall graciously approve,
With full felicity,
With brightest crowns your loan repay,
And tell you in that joyful day,
“Ye did it unto Me.”
- Dont’ cut food stamps (miamiherald.com)
- The season for empty plates (dailycal.org)
- Despite poverty’s persistence, food stamp benefits drop (scienceblogs.com)