Readers Write: Food Stamps
The Department of Agriculture’s proposed changes in federal eligibility rules for the food stamp program will hurt Minnesota families and seniors struggling to put food on the table. The measure aimed at “closing a loophole” would open wounds for people who are already suffering.
We believe this measure targets the working poor unfairly. They’re people who have jobs but still can’t afford to feed their children healthy meals. They’re mothers and fathers faced with an unexpected medical bill or car repair, forced to choose between paying the rent or buying groceries. We see examples of hardship every day while serving nutritious meals at our Loaves & Fishes dining sites across Minnesota.
Added restrictions to the food stamp program are aimed at the few who are “gaming the system.” Under the current proposal, thousands of Minnesotans who truly need those benefits will end up paying the price. Even with SNAP benefits, many people visit our dining sites to fill the gaps in their monthly budgets.
The truth is, many of our friends and neighbors are only one paycheck away from financial hardship. This is one reason why Loaves & Fishes has grown exponentially — from serving 300,000 meals in 2013 to serving one million meals last year alone. The average income for our guests is just $771 per month. We’ll always be there for those who need us, and we believe it’s unnecessary to take options away from hungry people.
CATHY MAES, MINNEAPOLIS
The writer is the executive director of Loaves & Fishes.