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Sen. Max Baucus: Montanans Depend on SNAP

Max_baucus1_200px[Editors’ note: For the next few weeks, we’ll be running a series of posts on Bread Blog about each member of the Super Committee. If you live in Sen. Max Baucus' district, please share this blog post with your family and friends, and message Sen. Baucus on his Facebook page.]

In August 2011, 126,723 households in Montana depended on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps) to make it through the month. You might think you don’t know people who depend on SNAP, but they could be your neighbor, a church member, or someone in your extended family. In fact, you might also have a story of how these benefits helped you through a rough time in your life and kept you and your family fed and out of poverty.

For 61-year-old Barb Compton, of Missoula, MT, the monthly benefit she gets from SNAP means everything. “Because I live on a Social Security disability fixed income, I rely on SNAP benefits for my food staples. I am still at the food bank at the end of every month because the $100 I receive is not enough to buy food for the entire month. If I lost my food stamp benefits, or they were reduced, I wouldn’t be able to put gas in my car, go to necessary medical appointments, get to work, or purchase needed medications.”

SNAP benefits don’t just help Compton. They’re an important resource for local communities struggling in the economic downturn. Just one SNAP dollar generates $1.73 to $1.79 in economic growth.

As a member of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (or Super Committee), Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) has a powerful voice in the ongoing debt negotiations. With more than one in seven in Montana—including one in five children—living below the poverty line, Sen. Baucus can use his vote to reduce the deficit, but also reduce poverty and inequality at the same time. The Hungry in Montana 2010 report produced by the Montana Food Network recommends that a combined effort to improve family economic security, maximize participation in public food programs, and increase access to healthy foods is the most effective way to ensure food security for hungry Montanans. Cutting or block granting programs such as SNAP would have far-reaching consequences for vulnerable Montanans.

Protecting hungry and poor people is a fundamental value of this country and an imperative to Christians who are called to love our neighbors. Sen. Baucus may be the voice that decides whether the lifeline Barb depends on is removed.

Please join Bread for the World and ask Sen. Baucus to form a circle of protection around programs that are vital to hungry and poor people in Montana, throughout the country, and around the world. For Montana constituents, he has made it easy by creating a special electronic form asking for ideas from Montanans.  You can also call Sen. Baucus at 1-800-826-3688 today.

Robinstephenson_60pxRobin Stephenson is a regional organizer for Bread for the World who serves Montana.

 

 Official photo of Sen. Max Baucus.

 

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