In collaboration with Foodlink, the following press release was sent Sept. 3, 2019, by the office of U.S. Rep. Joseph Morelle:
ROCHESTER – Today, Congressman Joe Morelle along with Foodlink, The Children’s Agenda, members of the Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI), and community stakeholders announced their strong opposition to the President’s proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and submitted public comment outlining their concerns. The proposed rule could cause an estimated 3.1 million people nationwide—including at least 87,000 New Yorkers—to lose access to SNAP benefits, jeopardizing their ability to provide food for themselves and their families.
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“This unconscionable proposal demonstrates an utter disregard for the needs of everyday families and would serve only to pull the rug out from under millions of Americans in their time of need,” said Rep. Morelle. “The 87,000 New Yorkers who rely on these essential benefits for food security deserve better. We must work to every day to uplift the most vulnerable in our community and eliminate the barriers that prevent them from thriving.”
“Any threat to SNAP is a threat to the work we do and the people we serve every day,” said Julia Tedesco, President & CEO of Foodlink, Rochester’s regional food bank. “SNAP provides nearly 10 times the amount of meals to the American public than the entire Feeding America network. Cuts to this vital anti-poverty program would put an overwhelming burden on the emergency food system, and risk the health and well-being of thousands of families in our area.”
“For millions of Americans affected by poverty, the first step on the path toward self-sufficiency comes when they can move beyond the crisis and daily trauma of food insecurity. Eliminating the Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility Option would create a much steeper path to self-sufficiency for many families who rely on SNAP benefits, stripping their ability to build savings for emergencies and adding unnecessary roadblocks,” said Jerome Underwood, Co-Chair of the Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative. “It also subjects children and their families to the many negative health and mental health effects that come with food insecurity. We must stand together as a community to protect our most vulnerable neighbors and oppose this proposed change.”
“The Trump administration’s proposed changes to SNAP will harm thousands of low-income children and families in our community,” said Larry Marx, CEO of The Children’s Agenda. “Research shows that food security is critical to giving children the best possible start to life. Our nation’s leaders should ensure that vulnerable children and families are able to thrive, not look for ways to remove critical food supports. This proposed rule jeopardizes the health and wellbeing of children, and we urge the Trump administration to reverse it immediately.”
Congressman Morelle joined community partners at Foodlink to help mark the start of Hunger Action Month — an annual campaign spearheaded by Feeding America every September to raise awareness about hunger in our communities – and urge the President to rescind his proposed SNAP change.
The proposed rule change would eliminate broad-based categorical eligibility (BBCE) for SNAP benefits, leaving New York seniors, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and working families without adequate access to food assistance. In addition, it would put those in SNAP eligible households at risk of losing free school meals.
The cost savings of the change would come at a significant cost to the health and well-being of citizens in Rochester and communities like it nationwide.
Rep. Morelle as well as representatives from Foodlink, RMAPI, The Children’s Agenda, and a number of community stakeholders have submitted public comment urging the President and the Department of Agriculture to rescind this rule immediately.
The public comment period closes on September 23. Online comment can be submitted here.