Watch The Greater Boston Food Bank’s President and CEO, Catherine D’Amato, talk about the Farm Bill on Fox News.
Video courtesy of FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston
The Farm Bill & Residents of Massachusetts
As Catherine D’Amato (GBFB”s President and CEO) states in her Fox 25 interview, the recent House and Senate passing of the Farm Bill will have significant implications for Americans as well as food banks and pantries. The bill will cut $8.7 billion dollars from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). These cuts come on the heels of the $5 billion SNAP program cut this past November.
Additionally, the H-EAT (Heat and Eat) program, a fuel assistance program designed for SNAP households so decisions between affording food or heat will not have to be made, will be impacted the most. Massachusetts, as well as fourteen other states and the District of Columbia (CA, CT, DE, ME, MI, MT, NJ, NY, OR, PA, RI, VT, WA and WI), offer the H-EAT program. An average household relying on SNAP and H-EAT will see up to $90 cut from their monthly benefits. Who will this impact?
- Cuts will affect approximately 850,000 American households and roughly 1.7 million people.
- In Massachusetts, about 125,000 households will see a $70 monthly decrease in SNAP and H-EAT benefits.
- The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) projects that of the households impacted, 80% are seniors or persons with disabilities.
- DTA data also projects that more than 35% of SNAP households include young children.
Essentialy, some of the most vulnerable populations, including elders, veterans, persons with disabilities and children will be impacted.
The bill will also impact food banks and food pantries. Each month, individuals will run out of their SNAP funds faster and will seek alternative ways to obtain healthy food. As a result, more will rely on hunger-relief organizations that are supplied by The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB). Continued support to meet this need is crucial so that GBFB and other organizations can continue to acquire and distribute more food.
What else can you do? Many organizations have vocalized their concern around this bill and have encouraged community members to contact their congressional representatives to make their voices heard.
- Bipartisan Farm Bill deal to cut over $8 billion in food stamps. www.msnbc.com. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
- Commentary: Nutrition Title of Farm Bill Agreement Drops Draconian Cuts and Represents Reasonable Compromise. www.cbpp.org. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
- Massachusetts Law Reform Institute – The FACTS about:
“Heat and Eat” and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in Massachusetts. www.masslegalservices.org. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
- What the SNAP Cuts Mean for Massachusetts. www.gbfb.org. Retrieved January 31, 2014.