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To the Editor: Food stamp cut … ‘just plain stupid’

To the Editor:

The US House passage of a bill slashing food stamps when 46.5 million Americans struggle to survive below the poverty level of $23,550 for a family of four is unconscionable, heartless, and just plain stupid.

Even at current levels, food insecurity plagues the children, working parents, and seniors who rely on food stamps to put a meal on the table. And “a meal” is the operative term. Food stamps provide one meal a day, at best. Hungry children can’t learn. Families plagued by poor nutrition and hunger will lose ground in the work world. Seniors who deserve to live with dignity in their later years will go to bed hungry. All will be at risk for health setbacks.

The families that ABCD serves continue to reel from sequestration cuts to education, housing, job training, unemployment insurance, and more in the Great Unshared Recovery. Last summer, when threats to the food stamp program arose, I spoke with a young mother of a four-year-old child in our South Boston Head Start program. She works full-time as a service coordinator in a car dealership, but was currently on unpaid maternity leave. Holding her three-week-old infant while her young son played nearby, she told me. “Without food stamps, we would have no money for food right now. My husband lost his job and I have no paycheck coming in for three months.”

Is this America, where we kick people when they are down? Where income for the top one percent rose 31.4 percent over the past three years, but 16 million children are poor? And now we slash another lifeline to their survival? We can do better than this.line to their survival? We can do better than this.

- John J. Drew
President/CEO,
Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD)