The Food Bank of Central New York is voicing serious concern about some parts of the massive Farm Bill making its way through the House of Representatives in Washington.
The bill has passed the House Agriculture Committee and is expected to go to the full House for a vote some time in May.
The piece of the bill that has the Food Bank most worried is the provision increasing job or training requirements to continue to receive SNAP benefits, formerly know as Food Stamps.
Beck Lare, Advocacy Resource Manager for the Food Bank of Central New York, says “While some areas of our service area have seen a decrease in demand, as the economy improves, there are still areas with very high unemployment and high levels of poverty so we need to make sure that we are able to meet that demand with our current resources.”
The Food Bank of Central New York serves counties with some of the highest unemployment rates in the entire State.
Lare says the non-profit helps food pantries, shelters and soup kitchens supplement what SNAP can’t provide for people in need.
She says cuts to SNAP benefits would put more pressure on these services.
“SNAP is a nutrition program not a jobs program, so by punishing workers who may be unemployed or underemployed by taking away their nutrition assistance its not going to help them find a job any faster or its not going to help them find a better job.” Lare tells NewsChannel 9.
She adds that for every one meal the Food Bank of Central New York can provide, SNAP can provide 12 meals to those in need.
“So we can not possibly make up for any significant cuts to SNAP.” Lare says.
The farm bill traditionally comes up for renewal every five years. Congress passed the current version in 2014.