Vermont needs a strong Farm Bill that supports federal nutrition programsFarm Bill

September 13th, 2018 – Barre, VT- Currently, Congress is considering the future of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) as they look to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill. The decisions they make during this process will directly impact how the 153,000 people in Vermont, including seniors, veterans, and children who experience hunger, will be able to put food on the table.

No piece of legislation is more important to the Vermont Foodbank and Vermont families trying to make ends meet. The Farm Bill must keep critical programs like SNAP and TEFAP strong and strengthen America’s national commitment to fighting hunger.

SNAP is vital for families struggling with hunger, and its scope and scale could never be replaced by private charity. In fact, for each meal provided by a member of Feeding America’s network of 200 food banks and 60,000 partner agencies – which the Vermont Foodbank is part of, SNAP provides 12. We simply could not meet the need if accessing SNAP became more difficult for Vermonters.

Many people end up at food pantry doors because they don’t qualify for SNAP, or because their benefits don’t stretch far enough. For these individuals, the charitable food assistance network helps bridge the gap. TEFAP is the cornerstone of the food supply for food banks- providing almost 1 in 5 meals distributed by all local hunger-relief agencies last year, and as much as 50% of food distributed in rural communities.

In order to help hungry communities in America, Congress should support the Senate SNAP provisions in the final Farm Bill and increase TEFAP funding so food banks can meet the demand for nutritious food in our communities.

We’re counting on Vermont’s Congressional delegation to pass a strong Farm Bill that ensures people can put food on the table for their families.