Snipping Away at SNAP
Source Newsroom: Cornell University
As families brace for cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) two Cornell experts offer unique perspective on how the changes could affect families and local communities.
Jamie Dollahite, professor at Cornell University, is an expert in nutrition education for limited resource audiences, Director of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program for New York State and provides program leadership for Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Eat Smart New York program, warns the cuts will result in another surge for emergency food providers.
“The automatic cuts that will occur on Nov. 1 will hit those families that are most vulnerable. Approximately half the recipients are children, with one in four of all children in the U.S. receiving benefits. Almost 90 percent of SNAP households have children, seniors, and/or someone with a disability.
“A recent report by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine recommended that USDA study the adequacy of benefits as there is evidence that the formula used is inadequate to provide what families need. Even so, research has shown that these food resources have a protective effect on families being able to purchase enough food, and since all SNAP dollars go back into the economy, the result has a major stimulating effect on the economy. The economic downturn saw huge increases in families at food pantries. I anticipate that this cut will result in another surge for emergency food providers.
Lua Wilkinson, graduate student at Cornell University, a nutritionist and ethnographer researching the gap between nutrition and society, comments on how the cut in SNAP funding will increase food insecurity for those in need.
“This will be the first time that cuts are made to every single participant of SNAP, and will include a decrease in benefits for millions of children, the elderly and disabled. These cuts reduce a family's ability to purchase food, likely leading to an increase in hunger and food insecurity for many families who depend on SNAP.
“New York has 3,185,000 SNAP recipients – 16 percent of total population – according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, all of whom will be affected by these cuts.”
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