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CO Child Advocates: Congress Gets "Scissor Happy" with SNAP Benefits

Photo: SNAP Benefits would be cut with the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act. Courtesy: Share Our Strength.
Photo: SNAP Benefits would be cut with the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act. Courtesy: Share Our Strength.
September 19, 2013

DENVER - Today, the U.S. House is expected to debate legislation (House Bill 3102) that would cut about $40 billion over the next 10 years from SNAP benefits - the program more commonly known as food stamps. If the "Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act" passes, basic food assistance will be eliminated for as many as 6 million people nationwide, including seniors, veterans and children.

Summer Gathercole, Colorado state director of Share Our Strength, said with more than half of SNAP recipients in Colorado being children, the cuts could have a significant impact.

"They're relying on their parents and we're talking about 260,000 kids. It's not like we're talking about extravagant dinners here. We just want to get healthy food into kids on a regular basis."

SNAP recipients already are bracing for a cut in benefits, set for Nov. 1, that will reduce the amount of money available per meal per family member to $1.40.

The average person receives SNAP benefits for 10 months. Gathercole said it's important to remember that people receiving benefits are accepting the help as a last resort.

"We're not talking about folks who are using these benefits for a lifetime. We're talking about people down on their luck, struggling in the economy, who are using this to provide for their families while they're looking for a job."

The funding reduction in SNAP being discussed this week in Washington would also cause more than 200,000 children to lose access to free school meals.

More information is available at www.nokidhungry.org.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - CO