What are your views of the food-stamp program and the proposed cuts to it?
A recent article from the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness discusses the dire effects of states’ efforts to curb food stamp use at a time when the need is expanding. The article’s title, “Little Becoming Less,” dramatically captures the crisis of the poor in the face of such cuts.
It is impossible to detach hunger as an issue in the lives of the poor, and foolish to try. Hunger is the most fundamental issue, since the ability to thrive in all areas depends on having enough food to eat. To be healthy and able to learn, a child needs good nutrition from its conception on. Starve a mother, harm a child. Starve a child, thwart his chances for a productive life. Thwart his chances, spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to care for him through a lifetime of poor mental and physical health.
MIFA’s programs are committed to supporting the independence of vulnerable seniors and families in crisis through high-impact programs. “Independence” to us involves the highest quality of life possible for every client. Whatever challenges our clients face, we want to intervene wherever possible to prevent an avalanche of crisis and to turn things around towards hope. Even a little help is often enough to accomplish this, but when “little becomes less,” more damage is done. The problems multiply, but not just for our clients: they multiply for the entire community.
For the last two years, major funding for Meals on Wheels, as well as our reimbursement rate, has been drastically cut. We average about 40 calls a month from seniors requesting Meals on Wheels, but because of reduced funding, we are not able to add clients when there is attrition. In our Emergency Services department, requests for food vouchers in August of this year increased almost 30% over the same month last year. Like many who serve the poor, MIFA struggles to make this “less” enough.
As in all areas of life, there will always be people who take advantage of the system, but the vast majority of those who do not can be an asset to our whole community if they have the resources to use their talents. Let us support those who make do with little, and not cripple them by making it less.