Today: Apr 23 , 2019

Opinion: House Budget Attacks School Meals And Nutrition Assistance

29 July 2017   Oscar De Los Santos

Cuts to Anti-Hunger Programs Would Impact Millions of Arizona Residents

The House Budget Committee’s 2018 budget resolution is an all-out assault on struggling families in Arizona and across the country. The proposal combines huge tax cuts skewed toward the wealthiest with hundreds of billions of dollars cuts to programs for kids, seniors, and people with disabilities. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) and meals for kids at school are on the Committee’s chopping block.

In Arizona, SNAP is a blessing for working families, helping them bridge the gap between food needs and available resources. SNAP helps nearly one million people in Arizona put nutritious food on the table when they may otherwise be unable to. Among the harsh cuts proposed to essential anti-hunger programs are:

 Plans for the House Agriculture Committee to make $10 billion in cuts over 10 years to programs— with reports suggesting those cuts would come primarily from SNAP.

 Another $150 billion in SNAP cuts over 10 years – roughly a 20 percent cut – through dramatic downsizing and restricting of the program. This would amount to over $280 million in cuts to Arizona.

 A $1.6 billion cut over 10 years in the Community Eligibility Provision for school lunch and breakfast in high-poverty schools, targeting an estimated 1,600 currently participating schools in Arizona with 650,000 local students.

The budget inflicts harm on children, seniors, people with disabilities, working families earning low wages, and people struggling with unemployment. As Congressman and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) said last December: “We can all agree that no one ought to go hungry in America and SNAP is essential in protecting the most vulnerable citizens during tough times.” Unfortunately, the Budget Committee rejects that statement.

We all have a role to play in addressing hunger – individuals, charities, businesses, and government. SNAP, along with food banks, local soup kitchens, school meals programs, and churches, strengthens communities and puts families on the pathway to success. With these cuts to SNAP and schoo meals, food banks and pantries will be overwhelmed by the need in our communities.

We strongly Arizona’s Congressional Delegation to reject the budget resolution when it comes to the House floor and help prevent hunger in our community.


Fast Facts About SNAP in Arizona

 In June 2017, 911,845 Arizonans participated in SNAP. 481,655 (53%) of participants were children.

 The average Arizona SNAP participant received $119.96 per month in June 2017, or about $1.33 per meal.

 2 in 3 SNAP participants are either children, seniors, or people with disabilities, meaning they are not expected to work. Among adults participating in SNAP who are able to work – more than half are working already and about 4-out-of-5 work in the ear before or after receiving SNAP.

 The average new household stays on SNAP for less than a year and most leave the program within two years.

About the Association of Arizona Food Banks Established in 1984, the Association of Arizona Food Banks is a private, non-profit organization serving five-member regional food banks (Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Desert Mission Food Bank, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, United Food Bank, Yuma Community Food Bank) and a network of nearly 1,200 food pantries and agencies. AAFB is one of the first state associations in the nation and an inaugural partner state association of Feeding America. AAFB was instrumental in the development of a statewide gleaning project, and our advocacy efforts have brought about beneficial state and federal legislation for our member food banks and the people they serve. For more information, to find a food bank or pantry in your area, or to learn more about donation and volunteer opportunities, please visit