Last Friday, more than 1.1 million of our fellow Washingtonians saw their food assistance benefits cut, when a temporary boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) expired.
Now, our economy will have to get by on far less consumer demand. And parents like Guyanthony Parramore, a Children’s Alliance member in South Seattle, will have an even harder time feeding their kids three square meals a day.
Guyanthony – and other parents across the state, from Seattle to Olympia to Spokane – showed tremendous courage in sharing their lives with the media. They spoke for so many other parents across America.
Most families using food stamps include a child, an elder or someone whose disability prevents him or her from working. When they don’t have enough to eat, educators like Spokane child care center director Tracey Flowers notices. As she told us, the children in her care “are confident knowing they won’t go hungry here,” but nutritious food is harder to obtain for parents in crisis. “People who make cuts to food stamps don’t realize the extent of the damage they’re doing to children."
We all want kids and their families to thrive. Hunger drains our potential and hinders our progress. It violates the norm, upheld by peoples across the world, that adequate food is a human right. Here in America, it hampers our fundamental national project: fulfilling our inalienable values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. While some of us are hungry, none of us can truly prosper.
Guyanthony and Tracey spoke up heroically in defense of families who need our food security network to work. They’re not alone. In coming months, parents, leaders and advocates across Washington will be calling on state lawmakers to support hungry families by restoring State Food Assistance. Many have done so; click here to read a letter by 137 community leaders in defense of food stamps. We can all join Guyanthony, Tracey and these courageous organizations right now – by telling the U.S. Congress to support hungry families in the Farm Bill.