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Community Development

With Government Assistance Being Cut, Where Do People Go for Help?

14 January 2014

Gloria McAdam is the President and CEO of Foodshare, Inc.

SNAP benefits cut by 5% just before Thanksgiving.  Unemployment benefits ended just after Christmas for many.  And Congress talking about cutting another $40 billion from SNAP!  What will the poor mom trying to feed her children do in the New Year?  How will the dad working two part-time jobs and still not bringing home enough money to feed his family get by?  And what of the 50-something empty nester who has been out of work for what seems like forever?

Any challenges that any of us might be facing in 2014 pale in comparison to these families who are just struggling to make ends meet.

Those of us working to solve problems like hunger are struggling, too.  I did something at the end of 2013 that I’ve never had to do before – I wrote a last minute appeal telling our faithful supporters that Foodshare might end the year with a deficit for the first time in our 30+ year history.  While many donors came through, as of this writing, I’m still not sure how 2013 will turn out.

With the government programs that help people put food on the table being cut, no doubt more people will be turning to private charities like Foodshare for assistance in 2014.  The bottom line is: to provide more assistance, these charities will need to raise more money.  Yet in the last quarter of 2013, every fundraising effort Foodshare had fell short of its goal and raised less than the year before. Sadly, if that trend continues, Foodshare will be providing less food in 2014, just when people need more.

What to do?  Certainly continue to contribute to your favorite anti-poverty causes, but even more important, contact your elected representatives in Hartford and in Washington to tell them just how unacceptable it is to cut programs that serve the poorest among us!

After all, I’d be happy to have a year when Foodshare did not grow, but only if it was because that growth was no longer needed!

Gloria McAdam is the President and CEO of Foodshare, Inc.

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