Slashing SNAP hurts millions of Americans
As a high school counselor, I had the good fortune of being the faculty adviser for our school’s Hunger Action Group. These compassionate young people became informed about the issues of hunger and grinding poverty. They learned how debilitating hunger is in the development, maturation and education of young people. They sponsored hunger banquets, food drives and hunger awareness events for the student body, staff and community.
They attended workshops and volunteered at food pantries, drop-in centers and soup kitchens. They supported local homeless shelters. They slept in boxes overnight in the cold, rain and snow, trying to grow in empathy with those who slept like this day to day. They raised funds for local organizations that help people who have little to eat. Some even went on to work for the Peace Corps. They wrote letters to their congressional leaders and attended town hall meetings. They cared, and most assuredly still do. I viewed them as leaders in our school.
One of the first things we learned in our efforts was that hunger profoundly affects women and children. Our country’s food stamp program (now known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP), is the first line of defense against hunger in our nation. It is likely that these altruistic young people are chagrined at the recent hard-hearted decision by the House GOP to defund SNAP by $40 billion. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that this will kick 3.8 million people off of SNAP next year.
Then again, we did witness a considerable amount of mean-spiritedness in our work to reduce hunger. It is no secret that many people out there do not hesitate to sit in judgment on people who are poor. So, am I surprised? Not at all. Just disgusted.