Why Now?

Why Now?

The problem of hunger in the US is sadly widespread. One of eight Americans struggle to have enough food.

The problem is even worse here in Indiana where 1 in 6 people are food insecure. That’s one million Hoosiers. It impacts Hoosiers of all races and ages. Food shortage is accompanied by poor nutrition as well; more than half of the hungry report that they rarely or never eat nutritious meals.

It is also important to realize that hunger is not just an urban problem. Residents of suburbs and rural communities are also at risk. The proposed SNAP cuts would hit many rural Indiana counties particularly hard, counties where resources are few. Some counties have only a food pantry or two, which means less food, and accessibility is difficult or impossible if you don’t live in a pantry’s vicinity.

The timing for proposing these cuts to SNAP seems very odd. People whose lives have just been destroyed by hurricanes in Texas and Florida need food as well as shelter, and SNAP does the heavy lifting, keeping people fed after natural disasters.

It also is odd to propose cutting SNAP when our economy is making slow but steady progress following the recession. As people’s incomes increase they are no longer eligible for SNAP. The program is self-limiting; in other words, if our economy remains on its post-recession path, demand for SNAP funding decreases.

Another “why now” reason for my fast is that, this time around, this resolution has a far greater chance of passing than previously. The House has passed budget resolutions like this multiple times in the recent past, but in that political climate they could do so just to make a political statement. They knew the President and the Senate would not go along. To do so now is a very different matter.

In this country, with all of its wealth and all of its agricultural prowess, there is simply no good reason for tens of millions of people to continue to go hungry. No other developed nation allows this to happen. America is better than this.

There comes a time when you have to stand up for what you believe. At the end of the day it is Congress that makes most of the decisions, so we need to influence their decision making. After all, whose voice are they?

I enjoyed a dinner with a group of millennials. There were small children running around everywhere. Everyone but me was well under the age of 40. The leader commented on why they had gathered: “We’ve been busy with our families and our careers, but we can no longer just assume that our values will be upheld.”

Now is the time for all of us to act. It’s time to do more to end hunger, not less. Liking a post is not enough; we need to contact our elected officials. We must ask them to be sure that our government does its part.


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