Nutritious Food for Families Facing Hunger Starts with a Strong Farm Bill
Congress is about to leave Washington, D.C. for summer recess and it is a great time to engage with them as they continue their work to re-authorize the farm bill, the major federal agriculture and nutrition legislation.
The farm bill contains important nutrition programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, sometimes called Food Stamps) and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). The farm bill gets reauthorized every 5 years.
The current farm bill expires in September of 2018. NOW is the time to make sure our priorities for the bill are heard. SNAP is the largest anti-hunger program in the United States. In North Carolina, SNAP supports the nutritional needs of 663,000 children, 151,000 seniors and 154,000 disabled individuals every year.
Further cuts to SNAP will increase food insecurity in our communities. Second Harvest’s partner network is committed to supporting our communities, but we cannot meet the great need alone. We all have a role in addressing hunger in our communities.
TEFAP provides food banks like Second Harvest with healthy food that we can then distribute to our partner agencies. TEFAP makes up nearly 13% of the food that Second Harvest distributes and is some of the healthiest food available to families facing hunger, with the USDA rating it healthier than the typical American diet. This is of critical importance to the people that we serve: individuals who are food insecure are at an increased risk of diet-related illness due to the quality of food they have access to.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina, in partnership with Feeding America, wants to find ways to make these nutrition programs work better in the next farm bill. We hope that you will join us in fighting for strong anti-hunger programs during the August recess and, of course, always.
Here are four ways that you can get involved:
1. Tell your lawmaker that you think hunger in your community is unacceptable: Share the facts above with your members of congress and ask them to support a strong farm bill that ensures federal nutrition programs work for everyone in your community. Find your elected officials contact information here.
2. Post on social media: Facebook and Twitter can be used to get the word out about how important it is to keep anti-hunger programs strong. A quick post can let your followers and friends know that you care about the farm bill and strong anti-hunger programs. Consider sharing this blog post, or one of our stories about how these program help North Carolina families near you.
3. Educate yourself: There are a wealth of materials available at www.hungernwnc.org to help you learn more about the farm bill and its programs.
4. Get Active! Sign up for Second Harvest’s Advocacy Alerts and we will contact you when its time to take action!