Children’s Advocates Thank Senators for Voting to Feed Hungry Children

June 20, 2012

Washington – The First Focus Campaign for Children thanked 33 U.S. senators for their support of an amendment offered today by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to restore $4.5 billion over ten years in federal funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which the Senate’s version of the Farm Bill eliminates. The children’s advocacy organization had endorsed Gillibrand’s amendment, citing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) showing that 20 percent of children live in homes where they or a family member is affected by hunger.

“Nearly half of every SNAP dollar goes to feed children, so this was a critical vote for kids. The senators who supported the Gillibrand amendment understand that one-in-five children living with hunger is too many,” said First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley.

As the recession has continued to squeeze middle class families, the need for child nutrition supports has increased substantially. A recent Brookings Institution study, commissioned by First Focus, the Campaign for Children’s policy analysis partner organization, examined the impact. That analysis found that an additional eight million children are receiving SNAP, compared to levels before the recession.

“The recession has made it harder for parents to meet their children’s basic needs, so it’s critical to keep SNAP strong,” said Lesley.

A USDA analysis confirms that, by reducing out-of-pocket food costs, SNAP is an effective anti-poverty investment. USDA data shows that SNAP reduced overall poverty by nearly eight percent in 2009 and had an even greater poverty reduction effect on families with children.

“Senator Gillibrand offered a plan to fight childhood hunger, fight child obesity, and fight child poverty – every parent should applaud her leadership,” said Lesley.

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The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit www.ffcampaignforchildren.org.

Contact:
Ed Walz
(202) 657-0685 (office)