Comment by Sept 23 on new SNAP hunger rule

Hungry People Face Another Threat, Please Help!

Public Comment 20%The Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rule that would eliminate an estimated 3.1 million children, families, disabled and older adults from access to SNAP benefits. The comment period ends on September 23. Time is short, and your voice is essential now!

SNAP serves about 36 million people, the majority of whom are children, the elderly or people with disabilities. This blockage of nutrition support for vulnerable and hungry people ignores the will of Congress when it considered this very issue in the 2018 Farm Bill. The rule eliminates broad based categorical eligibility (“Cat El”), which is a mechanism used by states to reduce bureaucratic red tape and ensure that vulnerable populations receive the support they need. By eliminating Cat El, states are forced to follow procedures that add to the cost of providing SNAP to low-income populations in areas of wide-spread poverty. People in serious need of healthy, life-sustaining food are qualifying for SNAP by Cat El yet would be denied access if the proposed rule is adopted.

ELCA social teaching urges Lutherans to engage in service and advocacy for our neighbor in need of daily bread. These faith practices express our relationship with Jesus Christ, rooted in baptism that sends us out for the sake of the world.

“When we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, ‘Give us this day our daily bread,’ we place ourselves in tension with economic assumptions of our society. Rather than being self-sufficient, we need and depend on what God gives or provides through people, practices, and systems. ’Daily bread’ is not earned by efforts of individuals alone, but is made possible through a variety of relationships and institutions [note to Martin Luther’s ‘The Large Catechism’]. God gives in ways that expand our notions of who ‘us’ includes, from people close at hand to those around the globe. In stark contrast to those who seek unchecked accumulation and profit, our attention is drawn to those who are desperate for what will sustain their lives for just this day.” – From ELCA social statement Sufficient, Sustainable Living for All

ELCA World Hunger works to change the systems that perpetuate poverty based on extensive ministry with our membership, congregations and communities, knowing we can't do it alone. Elected officials must carry out the essential role government plays to help people who need nutritious food.

The proposed rule is harmful because it:

  • Increases hunger for families by eliminating access to SNAP for 3.1 million vulnerable members of our community
  • Ignores the will of Congress when it addressed this issue in the 2018 Farm Bill
  • Harms grocery retailers and agricultural producers by reducing the amount of SNAP dollars available to spur local economic activity
  • Threatens the health outcomes and learning potential of children

Submit a personalized comment!

Share your PERSONAL MESSAGE AND/OR STORY in a comment that shows your opposition to this rule. Text below contains several key points raised by faith-based advocacy groups. Positive impacts that SNAP has for health and well-being and for economic activity in local communities can also be found in "Facts: SNAP Strengths" from the Food Research & Action Center. But most important is adapting the comment to reflect your experience and views. Please DO NOT SEND without personalizing (suggested: add a story with min. 60 words).

Recipients

  • United States Department of Agriculture

Contact

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Message

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to comment in opposition to USDA's Proposed Rulemaking on Revision of Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP). I believe our country has a responsibility to ensure that the most vulnerable in our nation have access to a nutritious meal every day.



As a person of faith, I strongly oppose the proposed rule that would expose even more people to hunger.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]