Monday, October 9, 2017

Media Contact
Sherry Tomasky
Cell phone (518) 414-2570

Anti-hunger group advocates for protection of SNAP for low-income New Yorkers at Farm Bill Listening Session
Hunger Solutions New York to provide comment at House Agriculture Committee Listening Session in Cobleskill today

Albany – The national Farm Bill listening tour makes a stop at SUNY Cobleskill in Schoharie County on Monday, October 9 from 10:00am to 12:30pm. Hunger Solutions New York will provide comments on the importance of nutrition programs in the bill. The primary focus of their testimony is preserving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in New York.

On October 5, the US House passed an FY18 Budget Resolution that included historic cuts to the SNAP Program, essentially converting the program to a block-grant type structure. Under this plan, New York’s program would lose as much as $8 billion over 10 years by reducing eligibility and benefits and seriously restricting the program’s response during periods of increased need.

“We’re hoping to give Committee members a real picture of how successful SNAP is in New York,” said Sherry Tomasky, Director of Public Affairs for Hunger Solutions New York.  “It is important to preserve the structure and integrity of SNAP so that it is there for those who are eligible, whether they be a parent who is temporarily under or unemployed, a child in a low-income household, a senior on a minimal fixed income, or a person who has suffered from an unexpected natural disaster.”

SNAP is New York’s largest nutrition assistance program, providing nutritional support to more than 2.8 million New Yorkers.  Nearly 65% of SNAP recipients are elderly, disabled or children.  Among families receiving SNAP, almost 75% had at least one working member in the past 12 months.  Individuals participating in SNAP have been shown to have lower healthcare costs; seniors using SNAP have been shown to have fewer hospitalizations and long-term care admissions.  For every $5 in SNAP benefits spent locally, more than $9 is generated in local economic activity, supporting grocers, farmers and workers in those industries.

Hunger Solutions New York, a statewide anti-hunger organization with a mission to alleviate hunger by maximizing participation in federal nutrition programs for all who are eligible, manages a statewide SNAP outreach and application assistance program, known as the Nutrition Outreach and Education Program (NOEP).  In the contract year ending June 30, 2017, NOEP assisted more than 33,200 households in New York to complete an application and begin receiving SNAP benefits.

Hunger and lack of nutrition pose a significant threat to New York’s most vulnerable residents. In September, the USDA released its annual Food Insecurity report, which finds that 12.5% of the state’s population still struggle with gaining predictable and reliable access to enough food to feed themselves and their families.

For these households, hard choices must be made between buying food and meeting such basic needs as housing, medicine, transportation, or childcare. SNAP relieves pressure on overwhelmed food banks, pantries, religious congregations, and other emergency food providers across the country. They recognize the comprehensive approach needed to end hunger and see SNAP as the cornerstone of national, state, and local anti-hunger efforts, and are the first to note their inability to meet added demand that would come from weakening SNAP.

The Farm Bill originated in 1933 as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation as a way to support farmers, ensure people have access to well-priced food and protect natural resources. It now has a critical role in America’s food system; supporting everything from nutrition to local economies and health. Forty years ago, the program we now know as SNAP was created with bi-partisan support to establish a far-reaching and effective safety net that ensured that low-income vulnerable populations like children, seniors, and people with disabilities could access the food they need to stay healthy and be productive citizens.

The Farm Bill has a five-year cycle.  Before the current bill expires in 2018, it goes through proposed revisions which then get debated and passed in Congress before being signed into law by the President.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway (TX-11) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (MN-7) will preside over this listening session, and will be joined by Representative John Faso (NY-19), who is a member of the committee and also serves on the committee’s subcommittee on Nutrition.

WHAT: U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee Farm Bill Listening Session
WHEN: Monday, October 9, 2017 10:00am – 12:30pm
WHERE: SUNY Cobleskill, Bouck Hall Auditorium, 107 Schenectady Ave, Cobleskill, NY 12403

About Hunger Solutions New York, Inc.

Hunger Solutions New York is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to alleviating hunger. We promote awareness of hunger, participation in federally-funded nutrition assistance programs for all who are eligible, and public policies that contribute to ending hunger. We also raise awareness of the health, economic and educational benefits of anti-hunger programs. For more information, visit www.HungerSolutionsNY.org.