Lucinda Winslow Raising our voices for charity’s sake
During the holidays many people are moved to generosity, donating to food banks or volunteering time in the community. And this is wonderful, charity efforts are critical. But ending hunger in our community also means attacking root causes of poverty, among them low wages (it takes 2.5 jobs to earn enough for a two bedroom apartment in Fairfield County), discrimination (the racial wealth gap means one dollar of white wealth to six and seven cents for Black and Latino families) and education gaps, cities to suburbs.
The Great Recession is not over in some of our communities. In Congressional District 4 (most of Fairfield County), 25,660 households, one in 10, received SNAP in 2016, in households including elderly, children and people with disabilities. Across Connecticut, the number was more than 430,000. That’s why federal anti-poverty programs such as SNAP (formerly food stamps) are still the cornerstone of our nation’s nutrition safety net. And remember, for every dollar of SNAP received, $1.80 goes directly back into the local economy.
Nationally SNAP helps more than 40 million people put food on the table, but it’s been under near constant political threat. Again this month Congress is talking about placing punitive requirements on SNAP. In addition, the Trump Administration has even proposed a rule that would punish legally residing immigrants, making them choose between receiving SNAP and other basic assistance such as Medicaid for their children and themselves, or endangering their Green Card status, even facing deportation.
This is just wrong.
So acting in charity this holiday means speaking out in support of policies that help millions of families put food on the table in times of need. Join me in telling U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy to protect and strengthen SNAP and other food assistance programs for all families in our community and nation.
Lucinda Winslow is a longtime resident of Stamford and volunteer/advocate with the Coastal CT Chapter of RESULTS, an international non-partisan nonprofit dedicated to ending poverty in the United States and around the world.