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Hunger Action Month in MT: SNAP Challenge

PHOTO: September is Hunger Action Month in Montana. A new USDA report shows that 46,000 children in the state face hunger. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
PHOTO: September is Hunger Action Month in Montana. A new USDA report shows that 46,000 children in the state face hunger. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
September 9, 2013

HELENA, Mont. - Today starts the SNAP challenge in Montana - budgeting $5 a day per person for food. That's the average food stamp benefit, and with Congress back to work this week, debate will resume about funding for food assistance, called SNAP, as part of the Farm Bill.

According to Bill Matthews, chief development officer at the Montana Food Bank Network, new USDA numbers show hunger is persistent, with one in seven Montanans experiencing hunger, and most of those going hungry are young.

"That translates into: 46,000 kids in our state are struggling with that every day," he said. "That's a pretty big thing. It's pretty daunting."

One proposal in the U.S. House would cut the SNAP budget by $40 billion, resulting in thousands of people being kicked off the program.

The Montana Food Bank Network has put together a calendar for September, outlining 30 ways Montanans can help end hunger. Tuesday's request is to donate ten food items to a local food bank or shelter. Matthews said the food challenges that so many families face are not well-known.

"You know, before I was in this job, I really had no idea that hunger was an issue in Montana, and I've lived here for 30 years."

The full calendar of tips for Hunger Action Month are at the Montana Food Bank Network website.

Calendar of events for Hunger Action Month is at MFBN.org. The USDA report on hunger is at 1.usa.gov/15ZgVpW.

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