Children’s HealthWatch founder and Principal Investigator, Dr. Deborah Frank, was quoted in an article by the Cherry Hill, NJ Courier-Post on cuts to SNAP in the recently passed farm bill.
Food Stamp Cuts to Affect 160K N.J. Families
But the long-delayed farm bill signed into law last week toughens the standards for receiving SNAP benefits through the heat-and-eat program. Now, families must receive at least $20 a year from LIHEAP to qualify for the SNAP benefits.
Supporters of the new rules say the heat-and-eat program represents a “loophole” that allows New Jersey and the 16 other states participating in the program to provide extra food for low-income families. But advocates for the hungry bristle at the word “loophole,” saying those families truly need the assistance.
“We need to expand access to the program, not decrease access,” said Adele LaTourette, director of the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition. “The lines at the food pantries are doing nothing but getting longer, and the food supplies that are coming in are decreasing.” LaTourette explained that LIHEAP funding goes to families who need help paying their utility bills, which means renters whose utility costs are rolled into their rent are ineligible.
Deborah Frank, founder of Children’s HealthWatch and a professor of pediatric medicine at the Boston University of School of Medicine, said the cuts in food assistance will have long-term health consequences as well.
“This benefit is becoming progressively more inadequate for a healthy diet,” Frank said. “From a health perspective, it’s like someone is bleeding slowly and you rush up and slash the wound to open it further rather than heal the wound.”
Click here to read the full article.