Annie Lowrey at The Washington Independent spoke to anti-Hunger activist Joel Berg about Congress’ attempt to cut Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (i.e. food stamps). The cuts are being made to fund a Child Nutrition bill championed by Michelle Obama. The whole article (which includes a transcript of Lowrey and Berg’s conversation) is a sobering read. Of course, I excerpted the saddest bits for you below (emphasis mine):
TWI: And what will the impact be for kids?
Berg: This cut is taking something away from every other meal for children in low-income families, to help get them a better lunch. Someone in the White House last week, I saw, claimed that the child-nutrition bill will dramatically reduce child obesity.
That’s ridiculous. They are cutting the budget from kids at home to pay for kids in school. If kids eat in school every day, in a year, that’s still only 16 percent of their meals, because there are weekends, there are holidays, there are nights, there is summer. There is no way that marginally improving 16 percent of your meals is going to dramatically change your diet — especially not if you are taking away from the rest.
People want to claim victory. They want to make exaggerated claims that the child-nutrition bill will help. The most heartbreaking thing about it, for advocates, is that this is supposed to be our great champion bill that was going to solve everything! We thought it would dramatically decrease child hunger. But, the fact is, you have hunger advocates lobbying against its passage. Our emotions are ranging from outraged to heartbroken. I’m really just gobsmacked that this happened.
TWI: Are you preparing to explain the cuts to SNAP recipients? Are we going to have to prep them, so they know their budget is getting tighter?
Berg: I won’t know what there is to say. I’m rarely at a loss for words. But what do I say to these people? You were screwed? You were shafted? Your children have less food? I couldn’t look in some one’s eyes and tell them that, and I don’t know how a senator could either. What do you say? Your kid’s need for food was temporary?