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Protect SNAP and Strengthen the Local Safety Net
At a time when more than 1 in 6 persons in Nevada experiences food insecurity at some point or chronically during the year, and unemployment in Nevada is still the highest in the country, Congress must act vigilantly to protect the structure, integrity and current benefit levels in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and to strengthen food supplies directed to the charitable safety net.
SNAP enrollment increases paralleled unemployment increases in Nevada between 2006 and 2012. As employment rises, participation in SNAP will naturally decrease. It is vital to maintain the structure of SNAP as a national program that fluctuates in tune with local economies – as they struggle and as they thrive.
SNAP adds stability to struggling local economies, helping families purchase nutritious foods of their own choosing at local, authorized, retail stores, as well as helping farmers, food manufacturers and grocers. The economic impact of SNAP equates to every $1 redeemed stimulates the economy by $1.80.
Foods purchased with SNAP that have most often been cited by beneficiaries, and observed in research include: dairy, bread, and produce. As obesity is increases at epidemic rates in America, Congress should support legislation to assist small and large farmers who bring healthy foodstuffs to consumers at all economic levels.
A challenge, among all the successes of SNAP, is that food banks, food pantries and meal programs are still needed to curb hunger and the ill-effects of food insecurity. SNAP does not provide all that a family needs. Approximately 50% of SNAP recipients will turn to the charitable safety net at least once during the year. Food banks saw increasing demand for nutrition assistance at the same time that SNAP participation was also increasing, and expects to serve record numbers for the next several years. Food banks are in need of consistent supplies of food in partnership with federal programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CFSP). Strengthening this area of food supply for the local safety net helps to support community-based organizations in the charitable safety net, as well as the clients they serve.
Together, we can feed everyone!