Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

Sen. Jon Kyl: Arizona's SNAP Participation is at Record Highs

111101_jonkyl[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 Arizona, please share this blog post with your local family and friends, and message Sen. Jon Kyl on his Facebook page or through Twitter.]

Arizona has been breaking records, but not in a good way. More than 1.1 million individuals are recipients of SNAP (formerly food stamps) -- “an Arizona record that has been growing each month by about one percent,” laments Brian Simpson of Arizona Association of Arizona Food Banks (AAFB). “We set new records every month, it seems.”

With higher unemployment and underemployment, an increasing number of Arizonans rely on the social safety net programs to make ends meet. More than one in six people in Arizona, including nearly one in four 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

The good news is that the safety net is working in these tough times. SNAP kept 3.9 million people nationwide out of poverty in 2010. “The Super Committee has yet to commit to protecting the safety net for the most vulnerable Americans,” says Ginny Hildebrand, president and CEO of AAFB. “The simple truth is the recession continues to wreak economic devastation on vulnerable households.  Though we don’t know what the Super Committee’s final proposals will look like, we cannot remain silent.”

Hildebrand urges Arizonans to contact Sen. Jon Kyl, a key member on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (or Super Committee), which is tasked with choosing where to make budget cuts to lower the deficit. Sen. Kyl should choose to follow the principle used in the last three major deficit reduction packages that decreased poverty and inequality at the same time as shrinking deficits

Bread member Ruth Lindsay says she has seen the need in her church pantry increase, and she and her fiancé have done what they can to help. “We have always allotted a portion of our budget to charitable giving, but these days much, much more of it goes to helping our neighbors meet their basic needs. Both of us would happily pay more in taxes so that the needs of communities can be addressed in a more holistic way, while the long-term problem of unemployment is also addressed,” Lindsay says.

Tell Sen. Kyl that Arizonans need to break different records, such as fewer hungry children and people struggling to make ends meet. This is a record worth fighting for.

The budget cannot be balanced on the backs of the poor.

+Call Sen. Jon Kyl today at 1-800-826-3688 or use the contact form on his website and ask him to protect poor and hungry people in Arizona and in the United States. 

Robin-stephensonRobin Stephenson is a regional organizer for Bread for the World who serves Arizona.


Official photo of Sen. Jon Kyl.


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