By now, you’ve heard about the president’s proposed budget, which includes major cuts to SNAP. From Worcester County Food Bank’s Executive Director Jean McMurray, here’s what the budget, if implemented, would mean for people at risk of, or currently facing, hunger.
The Worcester County Food Bank’s mission is to educate, engage, and lead Worcester County to create a hunger-free community: a lofty proposition but one we believe is ultimately attainable. To do it, we must meet the needs of those individuals and families who are struggling right now (which we do through our distribution efforts) and to advance sound public policy and other systemic solutions to the root causes of hunger (which we do through advocacy). President Trump’s latest budget proposal works squarely against our mission and, if implemented, will both increase hunger and decrease food security here.
The president’s proposal includes a nearly 30 percent cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which equates to $213 billion less funding and billions fewer meals for people in need over the next 10 years. It introduces new SNAP eligibility restrictions and benefit caps, and launches a “Blue Apron-type program,” or “harvest box,” as the president calls it, delivering shelf-stable groceries (think: canned goods and cereals) in partial replacement of SNAP benefits.
No doubt, what President Trump is proposing would have both immediate and long-term detrimental effects on low-income residents of Worcester County, including our most vulnerable neighbors.
In addition are the cost implications to states we probably haven’t even begun to imagine since we don’t know, in practice, how President Trump will carry out many of the elements of his budget. (Take packaging and delivering “harvest boxes,” for example.) What we do know: The “harvest box” is a misnomer since it will contain absolutely no recently-harvested food, no fresh fruits, no fresh vegetables. It will eliminate beneficiaries’ ability to make nutritious, culturally-appropriate food choices for themselves and their families.
To proceed knowingly to implement a budget that will cause literal (hunger) pain is harsh.
Even as we oppose President Trump’s proposed budget, we remain as committed as ever to working across the broad spectrum of community to solve hunger in Worcester County. We recommit ourselves to providing safe, nourishing food for those who urgently need it, while working to advance measures shown to decrease food insecurity, such as Breakfast in the Classroom and the Healthy Incentives Program.
We welcome you to join us now in our efforts. Please visit foodbank.org and explore the many ways you can get involved in creating a hunger-free community. Your support – your time/talent, money, and especially voice – are critical.
Toward a hunger-free community,
Jean G. McMurray, Executive Director