Dear elected officials,
Now is the time to support important nutrition assistance programs for those who are food-insecure. No Missourian should go hungry, especially children. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and is the largest hunger safety net program in the country. 13% of Missouri’s population, or 811,000 people, rely on SNAP benefits (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities). Additionally, 70% of Missouri SNAP participants are in families with children. Legislation like HB 1486 and SB 561 could disqualify entire households from SNAP if certain work requirements are not met, leaving children without access to healthy food at mealtime. We know that children who are food-secure do better in school, keeping them out of trouble and leading to better jobs and stronger communities. Additionally, without access to SNAP benefits, households are less able to contribute to Missouri’s economy by grocery shopping. According to the USDA, every $1 in SNAP benefits generates $1.84 in gross domestic product! Missouri should make healthy food available for all people regardless of their situation. Oppose legislation (HB 1486/SB 561, HB 1846/SB 610) that takes the right to healthy food away from Missourians.
Please support assistance for vulnerable populations to purchase nutritious food from farmers markets at an affordable price, like the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Farmers Market Nutrition Program (HB 1883) and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (HB 1625/SB 787). These programs come at little cost to the state and could lead to very productive outcomes for food security and public health. In a fiscally strained budget, we support programs that support healthy food access for the most vulnerable Missourians.