Testimony of Natosha McCray, Food Action Board Member, Hunger Free America
Hearing Before The New York City Council Committee on Committee on General Welfare
September 6, 2017
My name is Natosha McCray, and I have been a member of the Bronx CSA since 2011. I have been a participant in Hunger Free America Food Action Board for the same time. I have been an advocate for Hunger Free America because this issue affects my family and friends. We are hardworking people who take care of our children and need the help to maintain the nutritious foods our family needs. As a person who works with children, I have seen what problems hunger brings to the classroom, taking away the SNAP program or cutting it will effect these children on a daily basis. I implore you to consider the ramification of a bill being passed where these necessary benefits are taken from the mouths of the nation's most vulnerable people, children, elderly, and the working poor. Please vote against any impending cuts to the SNAP Program.
I want to thank Chairman Levin and the rest of the Committee for your work fighting on behalf of the most vulnerable New Yorkers, as well as for the opportunity to testify. Hunger Free Americans strongly supports this resolution urging Congress to reject proposed reforms to cut funding to SNAP and to reject efforts to convert the program into a block grant. I would like to thank Speaker Mark-Viverito for introducing this crucial resolution.
In 2015, 42 million Americans lived in households classified by the federal government as “food insecure,” meaning they could not always afford the food they needed. Cuts in SNAP funding and converting program to block grant would take billions of dollars worth of groceries out of the shopping carts of tens of millions of struggling working parents, children, seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and unemployed people by slashing SNAP (formerly called Food Stamp) benefits.
The stereotype that hungry people and SNAP recipients don’t want to work is false. 16 million Americans work but still struggle with hunger, and nearly half of all SNAP recipients are in families with at least one person currently working (in low-wage jobs), while most of the rest have an adult temporarily unemployed. In fact, 90 percent of adult SNAP recipients with children are employed the year before and the year after obtaining these benefits.
It is not welfare; it is work support and social insurance.
Even before these latest round of proposed cuts, billions of dollars had already been cut from SNAP over the last few years. It is no wonder that one in seven Americans – including 13 million children (one in six) lived in households that couldn’t always afford enough food.
The proposed cuts could make it harder for people who need it to get SNAP, and would slash benefits to those already receiving them, even though they now equal only a paltry $1.40/meal. On top of that, they are even contemplating plans to make it harder for low-income kids to get school meals, while increasing paperwork for schools.
SNAP is a vital program that helps guarantee access to nutritious food for millions of people. Not only does SNAP slash hunger and enable families to afford healthier foods, it lifts more than ten million Americans, including five million children, above the poverty line. At the same time it has the lowest fraud rate in program history: only about one percent. We need to continue funding these programs at current levels and resists any attempts to shift to block grants.