For more than 30 years Foodshare has been focused on providing food to those who need it most. But our mission has always been to end hunger, and it has been clear for some time that food alone will not solve this problem.
Last year, Foodshare provided enough food for 10 million meals, yet Feeding America’s “Map the Meal Gap” research suggests an additional 23,683,316 meals are needed to ensure everyone in greater Hartford has enough. Foodshare is already one of the most efficient food banks in the country, filling and emptying our warehouse at almost twice the national average. But meeting all of the current need for Hartford and Tolland Counties would require Foodshare to more than triple in size.
We recognize this just can’t be done – there is not enough food, volunteers, or money to accomplish this. Not only that, but we should not have to do this! We live in the wealthiest state in the wealthiest nation in the world – our neighbors should not be suffering the indignity of standing in a food line for hand-outs.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps) is the single most important food resource for people in need. It provides far more food than private charities like Foodshare do and it allows families to go to the store and pick out the food they really need rather than having to take what was donated that week.
Right now SNAP is on the chopping block, with Congress threatening severe cuts to the Farm Bill. Strengthening SNAP and increasing participation is crucial to ending hunger, and now is not the time for cuts. Our local food pantries are not coming close to meeting the current need – cuts to SNAP will absolutely ensure that some of our most vulnerable residents, particularly children and seniors, will go hungry.
Gloria J. McAdam is the President and CEO of Foodshare, Inc.
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