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Celebrity Chefs: Protect SNAP for Kids

PHOTO: Chefs encouraging protection of SNAP
PHOTO: Chefs encouraging protection of SNAP
July 11, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY - Some of the biggest names on the food scene are using their celebrity clout to ask Congress to keep the recipe for SNAP strong.

SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as food stamps, and this week the U.S. House Agriculture Committee is debating cutting its funding by more than $16 billion.

Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee and about a dozen Utah food professionals have signed a letter organized by the anti-hunger group Share Our Strength, pointing out the importance of ending childhood hunger. The group's chief executive, Billy Shore, explains.

"Without the food and nutrition that they need, kids face increased health, education, employment challenges. So, it's hard to imagine a stronger America with weaker kids."

Half of the 46 million Americans using SNAP are children, Shore says, adding that at least 150,000 of those children live in Utah.

Shore calls ending childhood hunger a responsibility to be shared by the public and private sectors - and SNAP is the public contribution to the partnership.

"The SNAP program was designed to be sensitive to the economy. It was designed to correlate with fluctuations in the economy. So, it's doing really exactly what it's supposed to be doing by protecting more Americans, and especially kids who are the most vulnerable."

The letter is online at

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - UT