By Whitney Tucker, Research Director
Congress has just released the new Farm Bill, and they are planning serious cuts and changes to SNAP (the program formerly known as Food Stamps). SNAP is one of the most effective tools available in making sure kids get enough to eat, and that low-income families don’t slip into extreme poverty. It’s critical for Congress to revise the 2018 Farm Bill to maintain food assistance. Please take action now and tell them that cutting SNAP harms hard-working families.
Here are five reasons it would be a huge mistake for Congress to cut or restrict SNAP:
- SNAP keeps kids from going hungry. 23% of kids in North Carolina live in households where there is frequently not enough to eat (ie “food insecure”). SNAP served one out of every seven North Carolina residents last year.
- SNAP keeps kids out of severe poverty. Between 2009 and 2012, SNAP benefits annually kept 150,000 children above the poverty line.
- SNAP improves children’s test scores. New research tracked thousands of North Carolina families on SNAP, and found that children’s test scores go up in the two weeks after receiving food stamps.
- SNAP improves kids’ long term health and economic outcomes: Kids on SNAP grow up to have better health, including lower rates of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Kids on SNAP are also more likely to graduate from high school, earn more, and stay out of poverty as adults. Read more here.
- Good nutrition fights the effects of toxic pollution. For example, heavy metals such as lead are more toxic to people who don’t get enough calcium (the body can’t tell the difference between lead and calcium). That’s why nutrition programs, including SNAP benefits, have been a critical part of the strategy to help lead poisoned children in Flint, Michigan.
Cuts and arcane eligibility requirements to SNAP are penny-wise and pound-foolish. All the evidence shows that kids with enough nutritious food are healthier, do better in school, and are more able to move themselves out of poverty as adults. Instead of looking for ways to keep people out of nutrition programs, Congress would do well to expand this highly-effective tool to more families struggling on the edge of poverty.