I agree with Todd Welch that it is a sad state of affairs when so many people are hungry in America and need to depend on food stamps. (‘Farm bill continues mistakes, bad policies’ by Todd Welch, Lake Stevens Journal, February 10, 2014)
However, this program has lifted nearly 4.7 million people out of poverty in 2011, according to the U.S. Census. Nearly half of those were children. Then in 2012, more than one in five children were in danger of going to bed hungry.
The increase in numbers using this safety net program are a result of the Great Recession.
Unfortunately, the recovery is slower for average Americans and so the safety net is still necessary. Fortunately, the Farm Bill did contain a training program, thanks to Congresswoman DelBene, modeled after Washington state’s Basic Food, Employment and Training program.
This pilot will create programs across the country. Other programs fighting poverty in the early stages are micro-finance, small loans for people to start a business, and Social Business, creating jobs while solving social problems.
Meanwhile, we depend on food banks to make up the difference to the hungry who have lost out due to the last two cuts in the food stamp program.
This is especially important in our state, where according to United Way of Snohomish: “Over the past three years, 75,000 new households joined the ranks of the hungry, and the rate of hunger in the state is the highest it has ever been.”
So, do what it takes to feed the hungry now and take action to end hunger in the future in the world’s richest country.