Marian Wright Edelman Statement on Farm Bill

For Immediate Release
February 4, 2014
For More Information Contact:
Raymonde Charles
Press Secretary
202-662-3508 office
rcharles@childrensdefense.org

 

Congress Cuts Food Assistance Even as
Hunger Plagues More Than 1 in 9 Children

Washington, DC, Feb. 4, 2014 – The Children’s Defense Fund strongly opposes the cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and points to its newly released The State of America’s Children® 2014 showing more than 1 in 9 children lack access to adequate food - 23 percent higher than before the recession. With millions of poor children and families still struggling, federal nutrition programs continue to be a critical support to ensure children’s daily nutritional needs are met.

SNAP benefits, which serve more than 22 million children — more than 1 in 4 children in America — have been cut in the farm bill by $8.6 billion over 10 years. An estimated 850,000 households, including 1.7 million people, will see a reduction on average of $90 per month in their food assistance. This cut comes on top of the substantial across-the-board benefit reduction that took effect in November 2013 and affected all SNAP households. 

“The cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the farm bill are indefensible. Our latest report shows that SNAP is the only defense against the wolves of hunger for 1.2 million jobless families. With record numbers of children in poverty, Congress should be launching a war on child poverty and strengthening the safety net for children including SNAP. There should be no hungry people—especially children—in rich America. It is shameful that Congress continues to treat poor Americans like second class citizens by cutting supports they desperately need,” said Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund, in reaction to the passage of the farm bill. In addition to the repeated assault on SNAP, Congress has terminated emergency benefits for the long-term unemployed and subjected poor children and families to a series of cascading program cuts due to sequestration and deficit reduction measures. Cuts at the state and local levels have worsened their pain.  

Children’s physical health and brain development depend on access to nutritious food, particularly in the earliest years of life. Hunger and malnutrition have devastating consequences for children. Crucial and effective anti-poverty investments like SNAP and the school lunch, breakfast and summer feeding programs help combat child and family hunger. There are hungry children in America right now, who suffer over the weekends when they don't have access to school breakfast and school lunch. Hunger does not take a summer vacation. Yet findings in CDF’s report show 89 percent of children who relied on free or reduced-price lunch during the school year did not receive meals through the Summer Food Service Program.

Additional key findings on child hunger and nutrition in The State of America’s Children 2014 include:

  • Three days’ worth of what the U.S. spends on corporate tax breaks would provide a whole year’s worth of SNAP food assistance for the estimated 737,000 children who don’t have enough food.
  • Nearly three-quarters of SNAP households are families with children.
  • SNAP food assistance lifted 2.2 million children out of poverty in 2012.
  • Black and Hispanic households with children are more than twice as likely as White households to lack access to adequate food.

The State of America’s Children 2014 is a comprehensive Children’s Defense Fund annual report on the well-being of children using the latest data available. The report provides state-by-state data and data by race and ethnicity. Since children don’t come in pieces, the report addresses the whole child and contains data on child population, poverty, family structure and income, housing and homelessness, child nutrition and hunger, early childhood, education, child welfare, juvenile justice and gun violence.