Food Hardship Rate Underscores Need to Protect SNAP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kirsten Bokenkamp, 202-986-2200 x3974; email@example.com
Baltimore, MD – August 23, 2012 – New data released yesterday by the Gallup organization show the food hardship rate for Maryland was 14.8 percent during the first six months of 2012. Maryland Hunger Solutions noted this rate shows that far too many Maryland residents continue to report that there were times during the past 12 months when they did not have enough money to buy the food they or their families needed.
Nationally, the food hardship rate was 18.2 percent during the first six months of 2012. Among states, Mississippi had the highest food hardship rate (24.9 percent) and North Dakota had the lowest (9.6 percent). Maryland faced less food hardship than a number of other states, ranking 40 out of 50.
People across the country continue to report their struggle to afford food in the aftermath of the recession and ongoing unemployment and underemployment. Despite these struggles, some in Congress are trying to make harsh cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The Senate plan for the Farm Bill includes a cut of $4.4 billion over 10 years to the program, a proposal that would trigger sizable reductions (averaging $90/month) in SNAP benefits for an estimated 500,000 households a year. The House Agriculture Committee bill would make these same cuts plus end benefits totally for a minimum of 1.8 million people, cutting the program by $16 billion.
“Food hardship continues to be far too high in this country. The numbers underscore the point that people still continue to struggle, and that cuts some in Congress are proposing to our nation’s nutrition safety net will only worsen a bad situation,” said Cathy Demeroto, Director of Maryland Hunger Solutions. “These cuts to SNAP will particularly harm seniors, children and working families, taking food away from the poorest and most vulnerable among us. Congress must reject these attempts to take from those who have the least.”
The food hardship question is being asked as part of a survey conducted by Gallup through the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project. Gallup has been interviewing 1,000 households per day almost every day since January 2, 2008 for this project. Respondents are asked a series of questions on a range of topics, including emotional health, physical health, healthy behavior, work environment and access to basic services.