Does anyone really think Maine’s food pantries can do it all? Between 2011 and 2015, the number of Maine children living in extreme poverty rose eight times faster than the national average (source: Maine Center for Economic Policy). Now a new farm bill proposal wants to cut more Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, claiming it will help low-income people climb their way off welfare.

Last year, lawmakers gave corporations and the wealthiest Americans a pass on paying their fair share, and now they want to recoup that money by taking food out of the mouths of Maine families. This latest attack on the most vulnerable will hurt both Maine families and food pantries.

A survey of food pantry clients by the Good Shepherd Food Bank explains what happens when families lose their benefits: “They didn’t become less hungry. Their financial situation didn’t improve. Instead, they turned to an emergency source of sustenance: food pantries” (source, Bangor Daily News). Who is going to support Maine’s food pantries to compensate for last year’s tax cut?

We all want Maine’s families to be more self-sufficient. And ways could be found to lift folks out of poverty, including lowering the costs of higher education, an increase in mental health support and tackling the opioid crisis.

Everyone in Maine, from both sides of the political aisle, wants Maine to be successful. But creating more hunger and hurting Maine’s children will never be the answer.

Liesha Petrovich, Norway

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