The United States is one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Our agricultural products compete worldwide and bring billions of dollars into our domestic economy. Unfortunately, hunger is still a problem in the U.S. and is only getting worse. The federal government to date has clearly failed to address this issue properly. New York City alone has over one million residents who depend on emergency food programs (EFPs). Many of these are children under the age of 18. Countless others are "food insecure"—that is they do not know when their next meal may be.
Although there is a clear need for greater funding for food assistance programs, there have been many cuts to these types of programs. As a result, food kitchens are operating on fewer days, reducing staff and depending on volunteers while others are forced to permanently close their doors. With stagnant wages and the rising cost of food, housing, healthcare and other vital necessities, millions of households across America depend on the federal government to help them meet their basic nutritional needs.
The Farm Bill, which is passed every five years by Congress, contains funding to help address some of the nutritional needs of struggling families, senior citizens and people with disabilities. New investments in the nutrition section of the bill are needed to strengthen vital programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). Furthermore, provisions discouraging the use of these benefit programs must be removed. For example, the current finger imaging requirement for the SNAP program deters eligible applicants. A 2008 Urban Institute study found that four percent of Food Stamp applicants do not apply because of this requirement. The study also found that this requirement only deterred .002 percent of New York City Food Stamp participants from defrauding the program. Congressman Serrano has always opposed these unnecessary restrictions and will continue to do so.
In 2007, Congressman Serrano introduced H.R. 206, the Anti-Hunger Empowerment Act. This legislation would remove SNAP’s finger imaging requirement. It also would establish a 'Beyond the Soup Kitchen Pilot Program' that would provide grants to anti-hunger and community-based nonprofit feeding organizations that help low-income Americans. This legislation is also a step in the right direction to address issues such as obesity. Above all, it would help more eligible Americans participate in food assistance programs.
Lastly, in order to properly address the growing hunger problem in our nation, comprehensive solutions are needed that address hunger within the broader context of poverty. Many people that depend on EFPs live in low-income neighborhoods where there is a lack of access to healthy organic foods. This in turn is closely associated with the high rates of obesity, diabetes and other diseases that are common in urban areas. Congressman Serrano has supported efforts to increase funding to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Snack Program and the Department of Defense's Vegetable Program, programs that provide healthy foods to schools.
More on Hunger
In Washington, DC
Congressman Serrano Reaffirms His Commitment to Protecting DREAMers
Washington, DC – Congressman José E. Serrano today reintroduced the Anti-Hunger Empowerment Act of 2017. Originally introduced in the 109th Congress, the bill seeks to change administrative cost provisions within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to increase its financial capacity to assist underserved communities facing hunger insecurity.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman José E. Serrano, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and a bipartisan coalition of members of the New York Congressional Delegation sent a letter to Jay Williams—the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce —in support of full funding for GrowNYC’s Greenmarket Regional Food Hub grant proposal for their Hunts Point location.
In Washington, DC
Washington, DC — Today, Congressman José E. Serrano released the following statement on the reintroduction of the Anti-Hunger Empowerment Act of 2015. The bill was originally introduced by Congressman Serrano during the 109th Congress as a way to replace administrative cost provisions within in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to expand its ability to provide nutrition assistance to communities facing hunger insecurity.
The Bronx, NY — Today, Congressman José E. Serrano released the following statement on World Food Day:
“World Food Day serves as a reminder of the food insecurity that communities in our nation and around the world are experiencing. Here in the United States, major cuts to anti-hunger and nutrition programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), have resulted in more people going without food.
The Bronx, NY – February 28, 2014 – Today, Congressman José E. Serrano announced that he had joined with several Congressional Democratic colleagues in their effort to bring dedicated federal funding and programming to community gardens across the nation using the AmeriCorps Program. Serrano became a original cosponsor of H.R. 4084, the “Community Gardening and Nutrition Act of 2014,” which would develop a new program to support community gardens. The bill, introduced by Rep.
Washington, DC – January 29, 2014 – Congressman José E. Serrano today voted against a bill containing a further $8.6 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefit formulas. These cuts, which come on top of reductions from last fall, would especially hit New Yorkers, as they are targeted at people living in states that benefit from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
Washington, DC – November 26, 2013 – In the wake of new report on hunger in New York City released by the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, Congressman José E. Serrano again called for reversing recent food stamp cuts and refraining from further cuts in the program. The data show a surge in hunger and food insecurity over the past several years.
The Bronx, NY –Congressman José E. Serrano and Congressman Eliot Engel today headlined an event at the Food Bank for New York City, at which they called for a reversal of the recent cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and to preserve benefits for going forward.