Facebook Campaign Targets Hunger in NJ [AUDIO]
Responding to proposed cuts in funding for federal nutrition programs, the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition has launched a Facebook photo campaign to shed light on hunger and its prevalence in the Garden State.
"Congress is proposing 16 billion dollars in cuts to food stamps, which is now known as SNAP - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program," explained Adele LaTourette, director of the coalition.
The cuts, part of a broader farm bill in Washington, would be implemented over ten years. Allowance for the reduction in spending would come, among other factors, through stricter eligibility requirements.
Lawmakers in favor of the bill said the main focus is closing loopholes, not making more people go hungry.
According to NJAHC, more than 805,000 people in New Jersey rely on SNAP benefits to feed themselves and their families.
“Our research shows only 60 percent of those eligible for benefits in New Jersey actually participate in SNAP,” LaTourette added. “The need for SNAP is greater than ever at a time when so many residents in the state are struggling to take care of themselves and their families.”
LaTourette said she frequently visits food pantries and soup kitchens in New Jersey, and she persistently hears that they are running out of food.
"It's really hard to imagine a worse time, certainly in recent history, in terms of cutting benefits to people," she said.
In an effort to raise awareness about hunger and the importance of proper funding, NJAHC's "Show and Tell" photo campaign is underway on Facebook.
Now through the end of November, anyone with a camera or Smartphone can contribute to the ‘Show and Tell” cause page on Facebook any images that define hunger or show the positive impact SNAP can have in our communities and in the lives of its recipients. In addition to taking pictures, participants can post comments on what hunger means to them and why they care about preserving SNAP.
Submissions for the campaign must be reviewed first. Photos can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"It's important to educate not just policymakers, but people who live in our state, about the extent of hunger and the fact that it is on the rise," LaTourette said.