Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

Rep. Chris Van Hollen: Maryland Families Rely on SNAP

111026_chrisvanhollen[Editors’ note: For the next few weeks, we’ll be running a series of posts on the Bread Blog about each member of the Super Committee. If you live in Maryland’s 8th District please share this blog post with your local family and friends, and message Rep. Chris Van Hollen on his Facebook page or through Twitter.]

Maryland Hunger Solutions—an organization that fights hunger and improves nutrition for Maryland families—launched a fascinating project this past September that challenged participants to experience life on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) by trying to live on just $30 a person for food for one week. Called The Food Stamp Challenge, this was the second year Maryland Hunger Solutions held this program, and more than 90 people participated. People were encouraged to blog about their experience as they tried to make $30 of food last through the end of the week. (Alternatively, according to USDA, in FY2010 an average household in Maryland received $275.27 in SNAP benefits.)

One participant, Cathy Demeroto, wrote about her overwhelming hunger: “When I got home, I was sooooooo hungry. … But once again, I am reminded how much we can take things for granted, like having a nutritious meal,” she wrote.

Another participant, Bill McCarthy, the executive director of Catholic Charities Maryland, recounted going to Wal-Mart for his weekly groceries in a video interview with Maryland Hunger Solutions: “I passed five grocery stores to get to Wal-Mart. Many people that are using and living on the food stamp supplement don’t have the opportunity to go to Wal-Mart. They don’t have the transportation that would actually allow them to pass many grocery stores to get to a store that has more affordable food,” he said.

Indeed, nearly one in 12 people living in Maryland’s 8th congressional district—Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s district—including just under one in 10 children, lived below the poverty line ($22,113 for a family of four) compared to more than one in seven persons, and more than one in five children nationwide. Despite the fact that Maryland’s 8th congressional district includes Montgomery county—one of the welathiest counties in the nation—13,003 households in Maryland’s 8th district received SNAP benefits in 2010. Among the SNAP participants in Maryland, 38.4 percent live in households with two or more workers.

With so much poverty and food insecurity in the state, it is imperative that Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) protects programs such as SNAP, the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and other programs that so many people in his district receive. As a member of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (or Super Committee), we ask Rep. Chris Van Hollen to place a circle of protection around programs that are vital to poor and hungry people in Maryland and the United States.

Join us in asking Rep. Chris Van Hollen to protect families who rely on programs like SNAP to feed their families week by week. Call Rep. Chris Van Hollen today at 1-800-826-3688.

Official photo of Rep. Chris Van Hollen.


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