We’d like to believe otherwise, but child poverty in America rates high among what UNICEF calls “advanced economies.” According to latest U.S. Census reports, our child poverty rate is at 19.7 percent. A study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows Montana child poverty at 19 percent in 2015. Poverty is overwhelming. It affects how children learn, grow, behave, develop, and how hungry they are.
The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) is our country’s most important anti-hunger program. One in nine Montanans participate in SNAP, 70 percent in families with children.
Proven efficient, SNAP targets benefits according to needs. Among qualifying households, more benefits go to those who need most help to afford an adequate diet. Households receive SNAP benefits on electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards, which can be used only to purchase food at one of 260,100 authorized retail locations, including 800 in Montana. One SNAP dollar generates $1.70 into local economies.
The House has proposed budgets cutting SNAP by $150 billion over 10 years. This would adversely affect millions. Some House budgets also included recommendations to block grant, that is to give states a finite sum to administer the program themselves. This would eliminate any automatic response to recessions, natural disaster, and rising food prices. Worse, states might shift the funds to other purposes. Such structural changes would effectively end the vital, child-saving SNAP program.
Please contact Rep. Ryan Zinke, Sen. Jon Tester, and Sen. Steve Daines. Tell them you want no structural changes to SNAP.