A message from Kevin Seggelke
President & CEO
When you visit our mobile pantry or one of our partner agency’s pantries, you’ll see a wide range of folks waiting to get something to eat. Seniors, single adults, parents and children from all walks of life line up together and they all have something in common – they are struggling to put food on their tables. And as of November 1, many are struggling even more. This will be a difficult holiday season for so many neighbors who don’t have enough to eat.
As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), Congress provided a temporary increase in SNAP benefits to help struggling low-income households during the recession. The SNAP benefit boost was structured to phase out slowly as food prices rose and caught up with boosted benefit levels. However, in 2010 Congress passed two bills that paid for investments in other priorities by prematurely ending the boost to SNAP benefits. As a result, all SNAP participants saw their benefits abruptly cut on November 1, 2013 when the ARRA benefit boost expired. In Colorado, we’ll see a $55 million dollar reduction from November, 2013 to September, 2014. 511,000 people, including 250,000 children and 73,000 disabled persons will be affected.
And more cuts are looming with the upcoming Farm Bill negotiations. FBR and our partner agencies are already seeing higher demands as we brace for more increases should additional funds be cut. The proposed SNAP cuts in the House farm bill plus the expiration of ARRA benefits equal more lost meals per year than the entire Feeding America network distributes. Our food bank and our charitable partners simply cannot compensate for cuts to SNAP at a time when resources are already stretched so thin.
How can you help? We need you to become an advocate for Food Bank of the Rockies and speak out. Contact Senators Bennet and Udall; contact your congressperson; tell them SNAP benefits help the poorest citizens with 83% of SNAP households having gross income at or below 100% of the poverty guideline and 61% of SNAP households having gross income at or below 75% of the poverty guideline ($14,648 for a family of 3 in 2013). Ask them not to cut benefits that help our most vulnerable citizens have enough to eat.
And with the increased demand, we need your help with contributions too. Every dollar we receive becomes four meals or five pounds of food. If you are not able to contribute funds, please consider volunteering or simply sharing our message of need with people you know. Please visit our website to learn more about SNAP, including some facts, myths and excellent information to get informed. Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. Every action to help us fight hunger is important, no matter how small.
We appreciate your support and couldn’t work to fulfill our mission without your generosity. May you find peace and happiness this holiday season and in the coming year. Please know your gifts and kindness will help others to find joy too.
Read our current newsletter here. Winter 2013 Newsletter