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Supporting SNAP: Our Letter to Congresswoman Alma Adams

In light of the ongoing Farm Bill discussions in Congress, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Food Policy Council has taken a proactive step to ensure our community's needs are heard. The Farm Bill, which funds a wide range of agricultural and food programs, is currently under review. One major point of contention is the proposed $30 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) over the next 10 years. To address these concerns, we recently drafted a letter to Congresswoman Alma Adams Ph.D. (NC-12) , urging her to continue supporting SNAP to help keep our communities fed and economically healthy.

Why SNAP Matters

SNAP is a lifeline for tens of thousands of families in Mecklenburg County and millions nationwide. This program provides essential nutrition assistance to low-income individuals and families, ensuring they have access to adequate food. In North Carolina alone, 1.4 million people rely on SNAP benefits to help meet their nutritional needs. SNAP not only fights hunger but also stimulates the local economy. Every dollar spent in SNAP benefits generates economic activity, supporting local grocery stores, farmers, and food producers. By increasing access to nutritious food, SNAP helps improve health outcomes and overall quality of life for our community members.

Key Points from Our Letter

Our letter to Congresswoman Alma Adams Ph.D. (NC-12)  emphasized several critical points:

  • Support for SNAP: We highlighted the vital role SNAP plays in aiding low-income individuals and families. SNAP is not just a program; it’s a crucial support system for those who need it most.

  • Current Farm Bill: We noted that the existing Farm Bill from 2018, which was extended last year, is set to expire in September 2024. The new Farm Bill, named the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024, is currently under discussion.

  • Negative Impacts of SNAP Cuts: The proposed new bill includes a $30 billion cut to SNAP over the next 10 years. This cut would enforce “cost-neutral” updates to the Thrifty Food Plan, preventing necessary benefit increases to match rising food costs and dietary needs. Such a cut would negatively impact over 32,000 families in Mecklenburg County alone.

  • Impact of Previous Reevaluation: We pointed out that a 2021 reevaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, conducted without the cost-neutral requirement, resulted in a 21% increase in SNAP benefits nationally and a 27% increase in North Carolina. This boost was crucial during the pandemic.

  • Current Strain on Food Systems: Local food pantries are currently overwhelmed with high demand. The current SNAP benefits only cover 63% of the cost of a modest meal in Mecklenburg County, highlighting the ongoing struggle to meet community needs.

  • Positive Provisions and Concerns: While the new bill includes positive aspects, such as repealing SNAP bans for individuals with drug felony convictions and supporting small farmers, these benefits cannot justify the severe cuts to SNAP.

  • Encouragement to Support SNAP: We urged Congresswoman Adams to continue her support for SNAP, ensuring that our communities remain fed and economically healthy.

Congresswoman Alma Adams' Response

On May 23, 2024, the House Agriculture Committee convened for the House Mark-Up Hearing for the 2024 Farm Bill. We are proud to report that Congresswoman Alma Adams Ph.D. (NC-12)  acknowledged our letter aloud to the committee and entered it into the congressional record.

A Heartfelt Thank You

We extend our sincere thanks to Congresswoman Alma Adams Ph.D. (NC-12) for her continued support and advocacy for our community. Her dedication to listening to and addressing our concerns is invaluable as we navigate these crucial discussions.

Stay Informed and Involved

As we continue to monitor the developments of the Farm Bill discussions, we encourage our community members to stay informed and involved. Your voice is essential in advocating for programs like SNAP that support our most vulnerable neighbors.

Together, we can ensure that our community remains strong, healthy, and resilient.

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