At yesterday's Farm Bill Forum, we heard some compelling stories from people who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
Anna, from Hartford, has a commercial drivers license and had worked driving buses until she lost her job last December. Her husband is working, but she is not receiving unemployment compensation and their budget for food and other household essentials is only about $20-30 per week. Anna is a diabetic who had controlled her disease with a healthy diet and a weight loss of 100 pounds. But now she cannot afford the food she needs to stay healthy. Her SNAP benefit helps - she is a careful shopper and makes all of her food from scratch, but she still has to turn to local food pantries and Mobile Foodshare in order to have enough food for herself and her husband.
Jody, from Manchester, was working at a nonprofit which lost its funding and so was laid off. Then she was involved in horrific car accident and ended up going on public assistance. Jody said, "I have found my health again but now I cannot find work. SNAP saved my life!"
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro responded by thanking both women for sharing their stories but then told us that food programs are in serious jeopardy in Washington now. The majority party in the House of Representatives denounces food programs, calling SNAP "government run amok!" According to DeLauro, the proposed cuts to SNAP are not going to deficit reduction, but rahter to tax cuts for millionaires. She urged everyone present to continue the fight because only external pressure on Washington will turn this around. View the Congresswoman's complete remarks here: