Today the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) reported that almost 18% of Americans said in September that they’d struggled to afford feeding themselves and their families over the past year. While that number is still much too high — almost one in five households — it does represent a slight decrease from 2009 (by .8%). It also continues an overall slowing trend in hunger rates, which FRAC attributes to an increase in food stamp (SNAP) benefits passed by Congress in April of 2009.
Now, of course, the food stamp program may lose significant funding if Congress continues to look to SNAP dollars to fund the stalled child nutrition bill (the CNA), which covers school food, as well as WIC and other federal food programs. (An excellent summary of the SNAP/CNA conundrum is found here). FRAC, along with many other organizations, is urging Congress to find funding elsewhere.
There have been reports that the Obama administration is committed to getting the child nutrition bill passed in the lame duck session and is working with Congress to restore the SNAP offsets down the road. Our own school district’s food services gave us this impression as well, presumably based on information from Armark’s Washington lobbyists. However, this NPR report issued today is more equivocal. (I won’t comment on the fact that NPR is using “my” lunch tray photo!)
I’ll keep you posted of new developments here.