Connecticut Food Bank was the site of an enlightening roundtable discussion this morning about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), hosted by U.S. Senator Chris Murphy.
Today is the last day of Senator Murphy’s SNAP Challenge, where he is trying to live on $4.80 a day for food, which is what the average SNAP recipient in the state receives. Though he said he could never truly walk in shoes of someone who is not certain where their next meal is coming from, he shared how he budgeted his dollars each day to try to eat healthy, and cannot imagine trying to feed his two small boys on a food stamp budget.
Among the information shared at the roundtable:
- A young woman who is employed, but receives SNAP, said people who are in need, such as the elderly, may have trouble trying to navigate through the system and waiting in long lines for assistance. She pointed out that she had trouble completing the complex 12-page application and sought help to finish the paperwork.
- Connecticut Food Bank stressed the fact that if the proposed government cuts were made to SNAP, the country would not be able to food bank its way out of the resulting crisis.
- Rev. Bonita Grubbs of Christian Community Action in New Haven agreed that charity cannot do it alone, and that while the economy may be improving overall, the number of people affected by poverty continues to escalate
- CitySeed spoke about the stigma that those who rely on SNAP to feed themselves and their families feel at grocery stores.
While there were many other issues discussed, we want to point out some cold hard facts about SNAP from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
- 427,000 Connecticut residents receive SNAP
- Nearly 61 percent of all SNAP participants in Connecticut are families with children
- More than a third of all Connecticut SNAP recipients are in families with elderly or disabled members, and
- About 33 percent of all SNAP participants are in working families
SNAP recipients are in every community throughout the state. We must do all we can to protect the safety net that helps our neighbors who are struggling with hunger.