Protect SNAP Call-In Day, May 8, 2018

Understanding the ins and outs of government assistance programs, how they work and how to apply can be a daunting task. Most likely, people will not know what assistance programs really entail until they find themselves in need of the assistance these programs provide.

Facts about Hunger

The most current Map the Meal Gap study was recently published by Feeding America. It reports that more than 41 million Americans (41,204,000 to be exact) experience hunger due to food insecurity. Many in this group are seniors and children.

The USDA defines food security as access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life. Food insecurity occurs when access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members becomes limited or the availability of nutritionally adequate foods becomes uncertain.

Households that experience food insecurity are not necessarily food insecure all the time. But, it can reflect a household’s need to make tradeoffs between important basic needs such as housing, medicine, utilities and nutritious food.

In TAFB’s 13-county service area, 527,540 North Texans are hungry. Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB) supports 270 food pantries in Tarrant, Bosque, Cooke, Denton, Erath, Hamilton, Hill, Hood, Johnson, Palo Pinto, Parker, Somervell and Wise counties that distribute food directly to those in need. Of those in need, 184,000 are children.

Facts about SNAP

Funded through the U.S. Farm Bill, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is managed by the Department of Agriculture (USDA). Several other Farm Bill programs focus on food production, protecting farmers and ranchers, supporting nutrition efforts and more.

The amount of SNAP benefits a recipient can get is based on the USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan. This plan estimates how much it costs to buy food to prepare nutritious, low-cost meals per household. To keep up with food prices, the estimate is updated every year.

According to TAFB Social and Agency Services Manager Vicky Martinez, SNAP provides a supplement families can use toward food purchases. This allows them to focus on paying other bills rather than having to choose between food and bills.

“No one, no child should have to go to bed hungry,” said Vicky.

TAFB Social Services

In the last budget year, TAFB’s Social Services team assisted 350 to 400 households in applying for SNAP benefits. This number predominantly reflects households in Denton and Tarrant counties. Most households included children.

Call to Action to Protect SNAP

Cutting the budget of food assistance programs like SNAP will not fill the meal gap. As a food bank that distributes nutritious food directly to clients and offers education on growing and preparing that food, we can’t defeat hunger alone. Our power to feed hungry North Texans is stronger with the assistance SNAP provides.

On Tuesday, May 8, Feeding America food banks, Feeding Texas, and the Center for Public Policy Priorities are asking friends and neighbors to call their local members of Congress in opposition of the proposed cuts to SNAP in the Farm Bill. Be a hero to those in need. Call 888-398-8702 today. This page includes a script you can follow when you make your call to protect SNAP.