After passing a massive tax cut benefiting the wealthy, congressional leaders are now asking hungry Americans to pay for it. As Blake McCartney draws attention to in her May 7 column “You should care about the Farm Bill,” the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, is under threat.

In Maine, 180,000 residents use SNAP to put food on their tables — that’s 14 percent of the population. As a youth mentor in Waterville, I witnessed young students asking teachers if they could take extra snacks for themselves and their siblings because they didn’t have enough food at home.

Hunger is a reality for far too many Mainers and SNAP is the most important program to combat it — food banks and private charities only provide one out of every 20 bags of groceries that go to people experiencing food insecurity.

Not only is there a moral imperative to provide access to nutrition, but there is an economic incentive. Economists estimate that every $1 in SNAP benefits generates $1.70 in economic activity. SNAP is a lifeline for thousands of families in Maine and imposing harsh new requirements and changes to eligibility would only push Mainers further into poverty and hunger.

I urge Reps. Bruce Poliquin and Chellie Pingree to reject H.R. 2 and ensure that all Mainers have access to the nutritious food they need to feed themselves and their families.

Susan Fleurant

(Colby College alumna)

Washington, D.C.

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