EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

May 14, 2013

Cuts to SNAP program threaten N.H. families

To the editor:

Imagine working in a low -wage job that places you below the federal poverty threshold, $14,532 a year for an individual or $24,828 for a family of three. Now imagine trying to afford rent, transportation, utilities, food, childcare and other basic needs on that income.

A critical safety net families can receive is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps. The program is designed to help families at risk of hunger purchase healthy food. On average, households spend 10 months on SNAP; 84 percent of benefits go to families with a child, senior or disabled person living in the household.

SNAP and the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), are two of the nutrition assistance programs Congress will vote on in the 2013 “farm bill.” The bill calls for cuts to both programs at a time when over 143,000 New Hampshire citizens struggle to put food on the table.

Last year, SNAP provided $162 million in benefits that helped over 113,000 individuals in New Hampshire. If the benefits distributed were cut, the emergency food system would not be able to make up that difference in charitable food.

Now is the time to support our more than 143,000 New Hampshire neighbors in need. Congressional deliberations start this week and our leaders need to know that New Hampshire doesn’t tolerate hunger. Contact your senators and congresswomen and let them know that cuts in SNAP and TEFAP will undermine the health and productivity of countless New Hampshire families.

Mel Gosselin

Executive director

New Hampshire Food Bank

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