Dear Friends of Ferndale Food Bank,
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; formerly known as Food Stamps) assists low-income individuals and families buy the food that they need for good health and nutrition. In response to the downturn of the economy, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) increased SNAP benefits as a way to ease hardship and stimulate the economy. Benefits were increased by 13.6% beginning in April of 2009. For example, the added benefit for a one-person household was $24 a month; for a two-person household, it increased $44 per month; for three, it increased $63 a month; and for four persons, the increase was $80 per month.
The ARRA’s temporary boost to SNAP benefits is scheduled to end on November 1, 2013. This means that every household receiving SNAP benefits will have a cut in their benefits. The Center on Budget and Policy Priority estimates that 1,113,000 Washington residents will be recipients of SNAP in 2014, which is 16% of the population. It cites that $114,000,000 will be cut from Washington’s SNAP benefits from November 2013 – September 2014.
These losses are devastating for individuals and families; particularly in the light of the very low amount of basic SNAP benefits. Without the ARRA boost, the benefits of SNAP will average less than $1.40 per person per meal in 2014. The total national cut is estimated to $5 billion in fiscal year 2014. It is likely that these cuts will cause additional hardships for many SNAP recipients; who nationally include 22 million children in 2014 and 9 million who are elderly or have a serious disability. This cut equivalents to taking away 21 meals per month for a family of four, based on calculations in the Thrifty Food Plan.
Families who lose SNAP benefits increase their likelihood of having a child in poor health and at risk for developmental delays. According to Feeding America, “Charity absolutely cannot make up for this substantial cut to federal food assistance.” Cuts will result in 3.4 billion meals provided to low income Americans in 2014. Millions of the most vulnerable individuals throughout the nation will be at risk of increased hunger with these cuts.
Please join efforts with the Ferndale Food Bank to make a positive difference in fighting hunger in Whatcom County. Your generous donations of time, money, food, and resources are needed more than ever during these challenging times.
—Jen Haddad, Contributing Blogger
Ferndale Food Bank accepts donations Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday from 8 a.m. to Noon. Monetary donations can be mailed to atten: Suzanne Nevan, Executive Director, Ferndale Food Bank, P.O. Box 1593, Ferndale WA 98248.