Kelsey Kemp: SNAP benefits poor

November 26, 2013 

This Thanksgiving, while many of us are planning to enjoy a delicious and wholesome dinner with loved ones, it’s another story for the 1.7 million North Carolinians who depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to avoid hunger and afford food.

On Nov. 1, SNAP sustained deep cuts when federal stimulus dollars supporting the program expired. As a result, families automatically saw a reduction in benefits, which are now worth about $111 per person, a paltry $1.35 per meal. SNAP is second only to unemployment insurance in terms of assisting families during economic downturns. In our state, two-thirds of SNAP participants are in families with children, and another fifth are elderly adults and people who have a disability.

For many who recently had their unemployment benefits slashed, these latest cuts merely add insult to the myriad injuries already inflicted on our state’s most vulnerable residents. We must tell our elected officials in Congress, who are poised to make even deeper SNAP cuts, that we won’t allow them to stand blithely by while many North Carolinians, especially children, continue to struggle and be at risk of going hungry. We can do better. We must do better.

Kelsey Kemp

NC Women United Board Member

Chapel Hill

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