In November, we cast our votes – not only for the person we believed should occupy the Oval Office and lead our country, but also for every member of the U.S. House of Representatives. As we face budget cuts this year, there is much at stake for the 50 million Americans who struggle to put nutritious food on the table every day.

We at MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger urge you to speak out to your policymakers with regard to the hunger safety net in America.

Engage your representatives by calling or emailing them and find out what they will do to address the hunger that’s plaguing our nation and what they plan to do to end it moving forward. Then consider their answers when you decide how to cast your ballot.

Below are a few sample questions you might ask your representatives:

  • The federal nutrition safety net is a vital lifeline for 47 million Americans, including 17 million children. With the Congress poised to consider the Farm Bill, What will you do to protect the safety net in the face of pressures to cut these programs?
  • Are you willing to support amendments to the Farm Bill that would provide incentives and subsidies for small farmers and not just agribusiness? Such a change would allow these farmers to price their produce in a way that would allow more Americans to purchase nutritious food.
  • Given that the majority of those on SNAP are the working poor, seniors, and the disabled, what are you doing to protect this vital program?
  • According to the Congressional Budget Office, SNAP produces an economic impact of $1.73 for every dollar recipients spend and yet, our state, like many states, leaves money on the table because too few people are enrolled in SNAP. What would you do to improve the outreach and application processes to secure these dollars for our State?

Additional resources (links):

-       Why the Farm Bill matters – to MAZON and to you
-       USDA Summary: SNAP Household Characteristics 2010
-       Quick Facts About Hunger in America
-       8 Myths About Hunger in America
-       National and State-by-state data profiles (Demographics, Poverty and Food Insecurity; Federal Nutrition Programs; State Economic Security Policies) (courtesy of FRAC)

Photo licensed from Creative Commons from flickr user USDAgov

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