Friday, September 20, 2013

Organizing for the Hungry

     Library of Congress photograph
Congress, under  constant, unrelenting pressure from the conservative wing, will turn its back on the poor and hungry in America this week.
by Charlie Leck

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me...
                                                                [Matthew 25:35]

Congress will vote, in the next couple of days (and likely today in the House) on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). We have known the program as food stamps. The proposal that will probably become law will drastically cut the food stamp program and will desperately hurt the poorest among us and many of them will be fellow senior citizens. Families with very low income, trying to adequately feed their children, will also be desperately hurt.

Congress has received significant and trust-worthy reports that food stamps kept as many as 4 million people from falling into poverty last year. Under the new law, according to the trusted, non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, more than 4 million people will become ineligible for future assistance.

Hunger in America is about to become a more significant problem than it has been in the a long, long time.

Providing assistance through food stamps has been a bi-partisan effort in Congress over the last several decades. With the restructuring of Congress under the influence of the Tea Party that is about to change. This has been our nation’s most effective way to fight hunger ever since the end of the depression.

As Jim Wallis, of the Sojourners organization, has recently said, food stamps are “the nation’s foremost tool against hunger and hardship, particularly during recessions and periods of high unemployment.”

This is a fight in Congress between those who believe we have something of a responsibility to care for our fellow-citizens who have fallen on hard times and those who don’t. Now that’s blunt and cold; however, it is the absolute truth.

If you can, communicate with your U.S. Senators and ask them to defeat this bill that the House of Representatives is about to send over to them. We must not allow hunger to become brutally real in America again.

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