By Alice Kenny
Catholic Charities joined The New York City Coalition Against Hunger and fellow anti-hunger advocates across the nation in projecting a “Hunger Clock” yesterday across the side of Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. The clock, along with similar clocks nationwide, began a countdown to automatic cuts scheduled to start on November 1st to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/Food Stamps.)
Calling to restore funds and stop attempts to pass additional cuts, hunger advocates joined with religious leaders and elected officials to project “Hunger Clocks” that will tick down to the November 1st benefit reduction date. Advocates are also bracing for a significant additional disruption of hunger funding due to the federal government shut down.
Nearly two million New York City residents – 48 million people nationwide – who currently receive SNAP (food stamp) benefits face significant reductions in their food allotments on November 1st, when the federal “hunger clock” kicks in. The $39 billion in SNAP cuts now being debated by Congress would be in addition to the November 1st reduction. The majority of SNAP recipients are working parents, children, seniors and people with disabilities. In addition, the average length of time someone receives SNAP is currently less than one year.
The clock is ticking. 29 days now remain until all SNAP recipients see a reduction in benefits.
“There are basic human rights that all people are entitled to, the right to work, housing and adequate food,” said Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan. “Government has a role, as do we, in safeguarding these rights. Cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) would have devastating effects on our families and individuals already struggling to make ends meet.”