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October 17, 2008
Statement by Jim Weill, President of the Food Research and Action Center, on the Release of the Blueprint to End Hunger in Ameri
According to the most recent (for 2006) Census Bureau/U.S. Department of Agriculture data, more than 35.5 million Americans face a constant struggle against hunger. The current economy is only making matters worse for them and rapidly adding to their numbers. The federal nutrition programs – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, which is the new name for the Food Stamp Program), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), school meals, summer food, and food for children in child care, as well as other government supports – are a lifeline for struggling people. Expanding and improving their reach is the fastest and most direct way to end hunger.
Hunger is a growing concern among Americans, and people believe that the government should invest more in federal nutrition programs. Recent public polling shows that a majority of Americans believes that eliminating hunger should be a priority of the federal government and the next administration; more than half believe we are failing as a country to ensure that people do not go hungry.
Federal, state and local governments can all play a part in advancing the Blueprint’s goals. On the state and local level, officials can make hunger a priority by conducting more outreach to connect eligible families to these programs and adopting policies that make it easier for people to participate. On the federal level, Congress can strengthen and improve these programs through the upcoming Child Nutrition Reauthorization, by investing more through the budget process, and, most urgently, by including a temporary boost in SNAP benefits to help households weather the rapidly rising costs for food.
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