K. Kittridge: We must preserve SNAP programs

Every day thousands of our neighbors, friends, families and coworkers silently suffer from hunger. Instead of allowing us to help them, Congress is proposing cuts to vital programs that help feed families, children and the elderly. We can’t let this happen.

About one in six people are hungry and half of those are children. Many Maine residents are struggling to put food on the table, and lead healthy lifestyles.

Currently, programs are in place that can help solve the hunger and health problems. Two such programs, are the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or “food stamps”) that supplements our fellow hungry Americans’ diet with nutritious food and its corresponding Nutrition Education Program (SNAP-Ed) that empowers families to make long-lasting healthy food choices on a limited budget.

In Maine, 19 percent of our population participates in the SNAP program, with 64 percent of those participants being familes with children and 34 percent being families with elderly or disable people.

Thanks to SNAP-Ed, Maine residents have developed skills like cooking, grocery shopping and budgeting to keep their families healthy. I work as a nutrition educator through the SNAP-Ed program and have seen how people's lives can change through the educational opportunities this program provides.

As our country continues to face the consequences of poor nutrition habits, SNAP and SNAP-Ed continues to be under fire during Farm Bill deliberation on Capitol Hill. Cutting important nutrition programs is not the answer.

We must keep SNAP and SNAP-Ed programs in our state to ensure our communities stay healthy.

Kristine Kittridge, Winthrop

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MARK GRAVEL's picture

There is a contradiction with

There is a contradiction with your hunger statistics and a recent government study that shows America's poor owns lots of stuff. Perhaps the conclusion is that people are spending too much on stuff rather than food; or people are lying to get more assistance, so they can use the money they save to buy more stuff.

Moreover, given 1 in 6 people are hungry, I have yet to come across anyone who does not have enough to eat.

Betty Davies's picture

The usual irrelevant data

So many misleading notions that it's hard to know where to start. I'll address just a few.

Mr. Gravel states that because no one who is going hungry has told HIM that they have gone hungry, hunger doesn't exist in Maine.

The notion that owning a refrigerator means a person has plenty of food to store in it is preposterous.

Repeatedly, in comments like this one, he tries to push the notion that poverty does not exist in Maine (or anywhere in the US) because such-and-such a percentage of impoverished families possess ordinary amenities. He does not appear to be aware that many homes and apartments come with appliances such as a ceiling fan, stove, washer & dryer, refrigerator and dishwasher. Or perhaps he believes people who are hungry should rip these out and sell them to buy food?

He does not take into account that many people who are currently impoverished had jobs a while back. They have not yet sold off everything they own in order to buy food--does that mean they're not poor?

If poor people give up their phone and Internet service, how are they supposed to find and respond to help-wanted ads?

Is owning a VCR a sign of wealth? It's hard even to find videos anymore. A dust-gathering VCR or one used to watch yet again an old video collection is not a sure sign that the family is secretly wealthy. Oh, and God forbid a poor person should own a coffee maker. Or a DVD player. Are you CERTAIN they're splurging on these extraordinarily expensive (ha!) items instead of buying good?

A "second" refrigerator or freezer can mean a lot of things, such as--it's out in the back, ancient and unrepairable, with no way to get it hauled away; or it's in use to store the food the family has been growing in a garden, hoping to get through the winter.

But none of these possibilities occur to Mr. Gravel. He is determined to persuade people that until Americans are living in mud huts and heating gruel over a little campfire in the front yard, no poor people exist in our great country--and thus there is no need for any program to increase jobs, or to help them with food, housing, or medical care.

After all, many people claiming to be hungry own (gasp!) coffee makers!

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Yep, I will not believe it

Yep, I will not believe it until bodies with bloated bellies start washing down the street - happy?


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