VERMONT FOODBANK OPPOSES CUTS TO HUNGER RELIEF IN HOUSE FARM BILL
Joins Rep. Welch in opposing harmful language and putting people facing hunger in Vermont first
Attributed to John Sayles, Vermont Foodbank CEO
April 16th, 2018 – The Vermont Foodbank expressed dismay, today, at language included in the 2018 Farm Bill by the House Agriculture Committee that would significantly reduce SNAP participation and food assistance. Particularly, the deep cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, 3SquaresVT here) will be devastating to our community, and the Vermont Foodbank does not have the resources to make up for the gap in services that this would create.
The Vermont Foodbank is part of the fabric of our community and feeding neighbors in need is a shared responsibility. Each day we see this priority reflected among our partner organizations, volunteers, and donors. But the nonprofit sector cannot do this alone — for each meal provided by Feeding America’s network, of which the Vermont Foodbank is a member, SNAP/3SquaresVT provides twelve. SNAP/3SquaresVT is a cornerstone federal nutrition program and vital to addressing hunger in Vermont. It is also critical to our local economy, generating business for local farmers, supporting retail and related jobs in our community, and creating $1.79 in economic activity for every $1 spent in local stores by our neighbors.
Nationally, the bill contains eligibility and benefit cuts to more than a million working families who would lose their benefits altogether or have them reduced. It also includes new work requirements that would leave substantial numbers of low-income people who have various barriers to employment — such as very limited skills or mental health challenges— with neither earnings nor food assistance.
The Vermont Foodbank stands by Representative Peter Welch in his condemnation of this bill. “If passed as written, this bill would inflict immediate harm on millions of Americans struggling to put food on their tables,” said Rep. Peter Welch. “It is simply beyond comprehension that Congress would slash nutrition programs on the heels of passing a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans. I will do all I can to stop these provisions from becoming law.”
While we understand that a piece of legislation like the Farm Bill involves compromises and competing priorities, ensuring that every Vermont family has the ability to put food on the table should be considered fundamental. Any reductions to SNAP/3SquaresVT whatsoever should be deemed unacceptable by Congress.
We invite all Vermonters to join us and Rep. Peter Welch to speak out in support of a strong Farm Bill that protects our neighbors struggling with hunger. As a member of the Vermont Farm Bill Nutrition Coalition, the Vermont Foodbank has worked alongside other anti-hunger advocates, agriculture organizations, state agencies, and community service providers to develop a set of Farm Bill priorities that reflect the true needs of Vermonters, and will be championed in DC by our entire Congressional delegation. We invite all Vermont individuals and organizations to sign on in support of these recommendations by visiting: hungerfreevt.org/farmbill2018.