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Food bank encourages House to re-think Farm Bill assistance for food programs

The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank said it is in full support of the Senate's bill.
The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank said it is in full support of the Senate's bill.(WHSV)
Published: Jul. 3, 2018 at 11:42 AM EDT
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Both the U.S. House and Senate passed versions of the Farm Bill last week, but they had different legislation when it comes to food assistance programs.

The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank said it is in full support of the Senate's vote on the Farm Bill, but would like the House to reconsider its vote. The bill in the Senate protects SNAP – formerly known as food stamps – and governmental food bank support, known as the Emergency Assistance Food Program.

The House bill reduces funding for SNAP, and requires that parents of kids ages six and older must work at least twenty hours a week to get benefits.

Blue Ridge Area Food Bank CEO Michael McKee said the realities of work today are not confined within the school hours, and many of the jobs available are shift work.

"And so the result will be that struggling, working parents who need the benefits from SNAP would be pushed out of benefits, and kids would go hungry, and that makes absolutely no sense," said McKee.

There is still time for the House to change its bill during reconciliation, so that SNAP can get the funding that many food banks believe it needs.

The Food Bank is asking constituents of Bob Goodlatte to reach out to him, because they say he is a big supporter of food banks — though not traditionally a fan of government entitlement programs — and they believe he could help change the House legislation.