Msgr. Kevin Sullivan said, “Our Catholic inspiration for feeding the hungry can be traced back to Jesus feeding the hungry on a hillside at the end of a long day.” He went on to say, “the need is even more acute now. Hunger among poor New York families is so extensive that hundreds of thousands of children go to bed each night without enough nutritious food to eat. These children wake up hungry and have a hard time concentrating in school. Some of the critically important programs to deal with this are now threatened by cutbacks in funding. Food is a basic human need. Our neighbors cannot be allowed to go hungry.”
By Ginia Bellafante
Published in The New York Times October 4, 2013
If you live alone and receive $200 a month in food stamps (the maximum the government allows for a single person and the equivalent of $2.30 per meal), your budget remains unlikely to accommodate much of the healthy, essential, “good” food that in this city and so much of the country has become its own religion, at the levels of both culinary passion and public policy. We hail the fact that greenmarkets accept electronic benefit transfer cards, but availability and affordability are hardly tandem principles.
According to research by the Food Bank for New York City, the price of food in the New York metropolitan area rose by 16 percent between December 2007, the start of the recession, and the end of last year, with 32 percent of New Yorkers in 2012 reporting difficulty paying for the food they needed. Those dependent on government subsidies to supply their tables will feel these increases more harshly as cuts to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP, as the food stamp program is called) go forward.
At the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine last week, advocates for the hungry including Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan initiated an effort to stop planned cuts in food stamps. The clock showed the time left before the cuts went into effect.