On November 14, 2013 Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts asked for and was granted permission to address the United States House of Representatives for a few minutes regarding the very serious issue of hunger in America. What he said was shocking!
“We stopped at a place called the Amherst Survival Center. It is a food pantry, a place for low-income people to get clothes, sometimes medical advice, sometimes counseling. And when we stopped there, the director handed me a bunch of plates, paper plates, where people who go to the Amherst Survival Center, and some people who work there, wanted to send a message to me and to Congress.
I want to read some of these plates. This one says:
Try going hungry. Hunger hurts. The pantry provides.
This one is:
I read the news about SNAP and I am afraid my family will go to bed hungry. How is this possible?
Another person wrote:
I think everyone has a right to healthy food, which is why the pantry is so important.
Dear Congress, please help us who need the help. I didn’t think I would ever be like this.
This person wrote:
No SNAP, no food.
This person wrote:
I work and I am seeking more work. My husband works. It is not enough.
“Dear Congress, access to affordable food is a basic human right,” signed by Shelley.
“What’s for dinner? Nothing without the pantry,” wrote Emily.
Working in the pantry has opened my eyes to see all the wonderful people struggling in the community.
Dear Congress, we need your help. Blessings.
Food stamps help American agriculture.
Hunger and homelessness in America?
I could go on and on and read some of these plates, and the reason why I am doing this is because we are so inundated with facts and figures and statistics that somehow I think we have lost our ability to feel them.
These are real people. These are real people who are struggling, real people who are working with struggling families. They deserve a voice. And one of the things that people are concerned about is Congress making their lives worse.
We are considering a farm bill; and in the House version of the farm bill, there is a $40 billion cut in SNAP–3.8 million people would lose their benefits. Hundreds of thousands of kids would no longer have access to free breakfast and lunch at school; 170,000 veterans would lose their benefits”, said Rep. McGovern (source: Congressional Record http://thomas.loc.gov).