15 Percent of Rhode Islanders Can’t Afford Food
Monday, September 03, 2012
Fifteen percent of Rhode Islanders reported being unable to afford food at least one time over the last 12 months, according to Gallup poll released last month.
The number placed the Ocean State in the middle of the pack among New England states, with New Hampshire (17.5 percent) and Maine (16 percent) reporting food-deprived residents and Connecticut (15 percent), Massachusetts (14.9 percent) and Vermont (11.9 percent) finishing ahead of Rhode Island.
At 24.9 percent, Mississippi had the most residents who reported not being able to afford food while South Dakota (9.6 percent) was the only state that reported less than 11.8 percent of its residents admitting to going without food.
The national average was 18.2 percent.
“As Rhode Islanders continue to cope with unemployment and the effects of the recession, it’s no surprise that 15% of families say they have struggled at times to put food on the table,” said Elizabeth Burke Bryant, Executive Director of Rhode Island KIDS COUNT. “The data demonstrate the importance the federally-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides assistance with food during times of unemployment, reduced work hours or another crisis.”
Families in all parts of the country continue to report their struggle to afford food, which makes especially attempts in Congress to reduce eligibility and benefits in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) all the more troubling according to the Food Resource and Action Center (FRAC).
FRAC pointed to a Senate bill that includes a cut of $4.4 billion over 10 years to the program and a House Agriculture Committee bill that would make similar cuts and end benefits totally for a minimum of 1.8 million people, cutting the program by $16 billion.
“Food hardship continues to be far too high in this country. The numbers underscore the point that people still continue to struggle, and that cuts some in Congress are proposing to our nation’s nutrition safety net will only worsen a bad situation,” said FRAC President Jim Weill. “These cuts to SNAP will particularly harm seniors, children and working families, taking food away from the poorest and most vulnerable among us. Congress must reject these attempts to make false economies by taking from those who have the least.”
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