Everyone concerned about hunger and poverty in our communities should keep an eye on Congress this June. The Farm Bill, which funds important nutrition programs, will continue to move through the legislative process. At stake is the well-being of children, seniors, people with disabilities, working families, veterans, and others struggling with hunger and poverty.
FoodShare is Wisconsin’s name for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly “food stamps”), which is funded through the Farm Bill. Over 700,000 people in Wisconsin rely on FoodShare to help them get the food they need to live healthy and productive lives. The House version of the Farm Bill, if passed, would make changes to the program that would result in 75,700 Wisconsinites, including nearly 23,500 children, losing their food assistance. Those children would probably lose their free or reduced school lunches as well.
The House failed to pass its version on May 18, but is expected to try again in the next few weeks. The Senate’s version is expected to come out in early June, and is expected to be much less harsh. On May 16, the Wisconsin Council of Churches, together with the Lutheran Office for Public Policy, Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice, and Feeding Wisconsin, held a webinar on the Farm Bill. If you missed it, you can watch and listen to a recording or download the slides.
Jesus teaches his followers to ask for their daily bread, because food is one of our most basic human needs. And Jesus calls us to have compassion and share our bread with one another as a matter of justice. In our time and place, SNAP is a powerful and efficient way to meet our neighbors’ most basic needs.
Please let your member of Congress know that SNAP works, that it makes a difference in the lives of the people in our communities – especially children – and that we must keep it strong and effective. You can send a message to your U.S. Representative from the WCC’s Legislative Action Center.
We’ll keep monitoring the Farm Bill process. Watch for updates and alerts, and for a follow up webinar, in the coming weeks. Your voice matters – and your voice is needed!
Peter Bakken, Coordinator for Public Policy
Read more public policy focus from Dr. Peter Bakken here