Yesterday Congressman John Carney visited our Milford Branch as part of his week-long SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Challenge. During his visit he spoke with senior citizens who currently depend on SNAP benefits to make ends meet. In addition, he attended a SNAP-education nutrition class and helped distribute food from our new mobile pantry vehicle!
From June 18 until yesterday, Congressman Carney has lived off a food budget of $4.50 per day, the average budget for people living on SNAP benefits, to learn more about the challenges of Delaware families struggling to get by, and to gain a better understanding of the current structure of the program.
“The last several days have been a learning experience for me,” said Congressman Carney. “SNAP is an important topic right now in Washington as Congress debates and votes on the next version of the farm bill, which provides funding for the program. Doing this for one week is not the same as the struggle that many Delaware families face every day. But, I think this is an opportunity for me to learn as much as I can about the SNAP program and the choices that so many Delawareans have to make.”
Congressman Carney’s participation in the SNAP Challenge coincided with the House of Representatives’ consideration of the 2013 Farm Bill. The House of Representatives’ version of the bill would reduce funding for SNAP by $20.5 billion over the next ten years. He voted against the bill for that reason.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 155,000 Delawareans receive SNAP benefits. Of the families receiving benefits, 82 percent had at least one person working in the last 12 months. In addition, 85 percent of Delaware families receiving SNAP benefits have children under 18 or one or more person over the age of 60 living with them.
“SNAP represents an effective way for people to feed themselves and their families,” said our President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “With Delawareans attempting to weather the national economic downturn, it is imperative that we continue to provide them with the tools to do so. It does not make economic sense to reduce SNAP benefits either for the individual or for the nine dollars generated in community economic benefits derived from food expenditures for every five dollars the individual spends on SNAP.”
Check out some more photos from the Congressman’ visit!