June 13, 2018 – Oregon Food Bank is pleased that the Senate Agriculture Committee this morning passed a bipartisan farm bill that protects the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) benefit levels and eligibility. In fact, on net, the bill would strengthen SNAP. This stands in stark contrast with the recently proposed partisan House bill, which would cut SNAP in a way that takes food away from 2 million Americans.

“Ensuring that everyone in our community has the food they need to be healthy and successful is certainly not a partisan issue,” said Susannah Morgan, CEO of Oregon Food Bank. “Protecting and strengthening SNAP, the first line of defense against hunger in this country, shouldn’t be a partisan issue either. SNAP helps nearly 650,000 Oregonians have enough to eat. That makes all of our communities stronger.”

SNAP serves 43 million Americans—the majority of whom are children, seniors, people with disabilities, and veterans—and has long been one of the nation’s most powerful and effective poverty-reduction programs.

One aspect of the bill that Oregon Food Bank is disappointed in is the missed opportunity to make investments in The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) funding.

“TEFAP is essential to our work to provide assistance to those who are food insecure and to broader efforts to close the hunger gap in our communities,” said Morgan.

For food banks across the country, TEFAP is a significant source of nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, protein, and dairy. It is one of the programs that most directly supports and links farmers and families.

“We urge the full Senate to pass strong SNAP provisions and support food banks and the people we serve by increasing funding for TEFAP food purchases through the farm bill reauthorization process,” said Morgan.