FoodBank Urges New Jerseyans To Say No To Hunger Relief Spending Cuts [AUDIO]
More than 800,000 New Jerseyans already are receiving food stamps. And it's one of the main reasons a recent vote by the House Agriculture Committee to slash hunger relief spending by $16.5 billion is not sitting well with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.
The agency is calling on state residents to reach out to their local Congressional leaders to oppose the proposed cuts.
"We distributed 40 million pounds of food and groceries to those struggling last year alone," said Kathleen DiChiara, President and CEO of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. "That's an increase of more than 60 percent over the past three years. It's a huge collaboration between the private sector, the non-profit sector and the public sector and everybody is working together, but we're still not keeping up with the need. There are still hundreds of thousands on food stamps and while they're receiving some help, even many of those on food stamps are struggling to get by. If what they are receiving is impacted by these cuts, which it would be, the private sector is just not going to be able to make it up."
"The high cost of living in New Jersey means that someone eligible for food stamps is at 185 percent of poverty. If someone earns more than $24,000, they would be ineligible. For a family of four getting by on that kind of money in New Jersey, you know they're struggling," said DiChiara. "We have a group of people who won't qualify for food stamps and are struggling and then we have the ones who do qualify and are struggling. Then, we have more than 100,000 senior citizens on food stamps. If this vote goes through, it will be absolutely devastating."
"We all want balanced budgets and we want to be fiscally responsible, but it absolutely cannot come from the most vulnerable people in our society," said DiChiara. "It makes no sense in this wonderful country of ours that we should have little children and the elderly going without adequate food."