Bread for the World Urges Congress to Safeguard Nutrition Programs in the 2012 Farm Bill
March 14, 2012
© The Sacramento Bee
As the Senate concludes its last farm bill hearing today, Bread for the World is asking members of the Senate Agriculture Committee to protect critical nutrition programs that meet the needs of millions of struggling American families.
"U.S. federal nutrition programs, including those authorized by the farm bill, weave a vital safety net that protects children, seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income working families from hunger and poor nutrition," said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. "While poverty rates have increased the last three consecutive years, food insecurity levels have not gone up because our federal nutrition programs have responded so effectively."
Bread for the World is asking Congress to strengthen the following programs in the upcoming farm bill:
- The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) protects more than 46 million low-income Americans against hunger. Nearly half of all participants are children, and 85 percent of households have incomes at or below the federal poverty line.
- The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) ensures a steady stream of nutritious USDA commodities for distribution through our nation's charitable food system. TEFAP delivers some of the most nutrient-rich foods that food banks distribute through pantries, shelters, and kitchens.
- The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) primarily serves low-income seniors by providing a nutritious monthly food package designed to meet their specific nutritional needs.
- The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program provides children in high-poverty schools with fresh produce and teaches students about the importance of good nutrition.
- The Hunger Free Communities Grants provide needed resources to local groups working to end hunger in their communities in the form of assessment, planning, and implementation grants.
"The 2012 farm bill provides an important opportunity to strengthen programs that combat hunger," added Beckmann. "With food insecurity at historic levels, we need Congress to protect and strengthen federal nutrition programs to better meet the unprecedented need for food assistance in this country."
International food aid programs also will be reauthorized in the farm bill. Bread for the World supports not only protecting those programs but is working to make them more effective and efficient.