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Proposed cuts to critical hunger-relief program will harm thousands of Oregonians

May 13, 2013
Topics:
Childhood Hunger

House Agriculture Committee’s approximate $21 billion cut to SNAP will threaten children and families who are struggling with hunger.

PORTLAND, Ore. (May 13, 2013) – Oregon Food Bank responded sharply today to a proposal from the House Agriculture Committee that would limit access to hunger-relief benefits during a time of unprecedented need in our region.

The House Agricultural Committee’s initial version of the five-year farm bill, which was released on May 10, 2013, includes a proposed approximate $21 billion cut from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. These cuts, which would take place over a 10-year period, would divert critically needed resources from the nation’s largest anti-hunger program. The full House Agriculture Committee is expected to take up this proposal on May 15, 2013. Oregon Congressman Kurt Schrader is a member of this committee.

The Oregon Department of Human Services estimates that cuts on this scale would deny SNAP benefits to 90,921 low-income participants in Oregon – or nearly one in eight who currently rely on the program. The proposal would be particularly devastating for children who are hungry. Of those Oregonians losing SNAP benefits, 33,290 of them would be age 17 or younger – one in three who currently receive benefits.

“Oregon Food Bank supports families who are struggling to put food on their tables,” said Oregon Food Bank CEO, Susannah Morgan. “Because the committee’s proposal would hurt those families – in particular, the children in those families – we strongly oppose these severe cuts to SNAP.”

To achieve these cuts, the committee is proposing to eliminate the broad-based categorical eligibility provision, which allows state residents who qualify for other low-income assistance programs to be eligible to receive SNAP benefits. The loss of categorical eligibility would eliminate an important pathway for low-income Oregonians to access benefits.

“Hundreds of thousands of Oregonians are still reeling from the effects of the Great Recession. And they rely on SNAP to feed their families for most of the month,” said Morgan. “Food pantries and other emergency food programs are already doing all they can. I urge our elected officials to have care and compassion for our neighbors in need and fully invest in SNAP benefits.”

To learn more about the proposed cuts to SNAP and their potential effects on low-income residents in Oregon, read Oregon Food Bank’s analysis at www.oregonfoodbank.org/proposedsnapcuts.

Media Contacts
Brian Schaeperkoetter, Oregon Food Bank
 971-230-1658 | brianschaeperkoetter@oregonfoodbank.org

Jean Kempe-Ware, Oregon Food Bank
503-419-4170 | jkempe-ware@oregonfoodbank.org

About Oregon Food Bank
With sufficient public will and support of the entire community, we believe it is possible to eliminate hunger and its root causes. Oregon Food Bank collects and distributes food through a network of four OFB branches and 16 independent regional food banks serving Oregon and southwest Washington. The OFB Network helps nearly 1 in 5 households fend off hunger. OFB also leads statewide efforts to increase resources for hungry families and to eliminate the root causes of hunger through advocacy, nutrition education, garden education, and helping communities strengthen local food systems.

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