Kentuckians Kick-Off Hunger Action Month

by Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service

As anti-hunger advocates gather today at the state Capitol to launch Feeding Kentucky’s Hunger Action Month kickoff, experts say the next Farm Bill — the nation’s largest nutrition and agricultural legislation — will decide the fate of many of the federal food programs Kentuckians rely on.

Cassidy Wheeler, advocacy coordinator for Feeding Kentucky, said new work reporting requirements are expected to impact many Kentuckians 50 and older who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP.

“13,000 Kentuckians who are between the ages of 50 and 55, they’re at risk of losing their SNAP benefits because of these new requirements that got put into place with the debt ceiling negotiations,” Wheeler explained.

The U.S. House is expected to pass its version of the Farm Bill at the end of September. According to the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, in 2020 SNAP provided food assistance to 219,000 children, 60,000 people over the age of 60, and more than 20,000 adults.

Amid soaring gas and grocery prices, and cost-of living expenses, Wheeler noted the Farm Bill also provides an opportunity to strengthen The Emergency Food Assistance Program known as TEFAP.

“It supplies over 20% of food to food banks,” Wheeler reported. “If you’ve ever heard of people go into a food bank monthly to get kind of boxes of food, that’s TEFAP.”

This year, nearly two-thirds of responding food banks reported an increase in demand for food assistance, according to Feeding America’s latest food bank pulse survey.

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