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Bowl of apples, nectarines, and bananas.
People getting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits don't just face the prospect of House Republicans slashing $40 billion from the program over the next 10 years, they face the immediate, certain prospect of losing an average of nearly $30 a month in benefits starting in November, as a temporary increase in benefits included in the stimulus expires.

That will take money from the food budgets of people who really can't afford it, people whose food assistance already doesn't stretch as far as it needs to:

At the Capital Area Food Bank, a 100,000-square-foot warehouse facility—a kind of Sam’s Club for food pantries in the metro Washington area—officials say food-stamp funds typically last recipients two and a half weeks. After the benefits run out, many go to food pantries to help make ends meet, according to the Food Bank’s Brian Banks.
Republicans like to talk about SNAP as being plagued by fraud (even though its fraud rates are vanishingly low) and, even with unemployment high and the minimum wage so low that many who work still qualify for food stamps, to stigmatize recipients. They like to pretend its easy to live on a food stamp budget. But in reality, this is an economy where too many are unemployed or stuck in part-time work when they want full-time work. It's an economy where you can work full-time at minimum wage and still be poor, still need food assistance. And SNAP benefits can be the difference between having some fruits and vegetables occasionally and eating nothing but processed foods. For instance, for one family first displaced by Hurricane Katrina, then left without work by the BP spill:
With the program’s help, her daughters Michelle, 17, and Denise, 15, ate fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks, and Elizabeth could make everyone’s favorites for dinner, albeit on a budget: spaghetti for Kenny Robert, roast for Michelle, and “anything you put on a plate” for Denise. Without the assistance, “we just learned how to eat hot dogs and biscuits and called them pigs-in-a-blanket,” she said.
That family will be losing $36 a month come November—not a return to full-time pigs-in-a-blanket, but they'll definitely be losing out on some fruits and vegetables. But the debate in Congress is not about replacing those lost benefits until unemployment drops, it's about whether to cut $4 billion or $40 billion more.

Please sign our petition telling the House and Senate to put low-income families ahead of corporate welfare and to oppose all cuts to food stamps.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Sep 12, 2013 at 07:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by Hunger in America and Daily Kos.

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