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Hoosiers at Risk of Hunger Under Trump Budget

A majority of those receiving SNAP benefits in Indiana are seniors and children. (Virginia Carter)
A majority of those receiving SNAP benefits in Indiana are seniors and children. (Virginia Carter)
June 19, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS – Advocates are hoping to convince lawmakers that there's a real need for food-assistance programs in this country.

President Trump's budget proposal would shift a huge chunk of the cost of the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP) to the states, and for the first time states would be allowed to make benefit cuts. Advocates say that will hurt Hoosiers already struggling to keep food on the table, and are calling on Indiana lawmakers to reject any proposal that leaves Hoosiers without enough to eat.

Jessica Fraser is the director of the Indiana Institute for Working Families. She says policymakers need to keep in mind that these are real people - children and older folks who are going hungry.

"To some people, it's numbers in a ledger trying to change them around and prioritize different programs, but to 742,000 Hoosiers, it's what they need to feed themselves," she explains.

The president's budget would force states to cover 10 percent of SNAP benefits beginning in 2020. It would go up to 25 percent in 2023.

A campaign has begun in Indiana called "SNAP Works for Hoosiers."

Fraser says nonprofits and advocacy groups are banding together to dispel myths about people who collect the benefits and educate lawmakers and the public about the program, because they want to let policymakers know exactly who is being impacted by their decisions.

"We're looking for stories," she says. "If you've been on nutrition assistance before or you know someone who has and it made the difference for your family and you'd like to tell your story, we really need to hear those real stories so we can share them with the lawmakers."

Fraser says SNAP has pulled 8 million people out of poverty. The "SNAP Works for Hoosiers" campaign can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IN