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Hunger in the Land of the Plenty

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Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 6:00 pm

Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a study stating that nearly 49 million adults and children reside in “food insecure” homes in America. In Dallas County there are roughly 500,000 adults and children who are food insecure, lacking diets that contain the necessary nutrients designed to keep them well, and prevent them from dying prematurely.

Fifty-eight percent of all students in the Dallas Independent School District live in homes that are deemed “food insecure”. In a country as wealthy as America, there are too many people that are hungry.

Unfortunately, the reality of excessive large numbers of hungry families is not new to Texas. While a member of the Texas Legislature, I sponsored legislation that resulted in children from low income homes being provided with free breakfast in public schools. Such a program was needed then, and it continues to be needed today.

Last week, I hosted a Hunger Summit in conjunction with the Dallas Coalition of Hunger Solutions. The coalition consists of the Texas Hunger Initiative, the North Texas Food Bank, Good Indeed, Feed3, the Dallas Baptist Association, the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, Get Healthy Dallas and a number of other community organizations. Together, we work to address the issue of hunger.

As Members of Congress return to Washington to tackle major issues, I remain concerned that some of my colleagues would permit drastic cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) program which provides food stamps to needy families and individuals.

This aggressive agenda to dismantle the SNAP program would deny assistance to nearly four to six million low-income people. The reality is that there is a wide-spread misconception about who receives SNAP benefits. It is not just the black or Hispanic populations, but it is also the working class, the elderly and the disabled.

Many families are forced to ration their meals. It is truly disheartening that parents have to skip meals in order to feed their children. Any proposed cuts to SNAP are disingenuous to the millions of Americans who are working hard to provide for their families.

Some of my colleagues are genuinely out of touch with a large portion of the American population. As your representative in Congress, I will vigorously fight any attempts to weaken the SNAP program. I will continue to ensure that those who are hungry continue to receive the benefits that are necessary for their survival.

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