Many people in Kentucky will say “thank you” for their good luck by feeding their poor neighbors, giving them food, and giving money. This kind of giving makes our communities better and helps people in need, but it takes more to fight hunger, poverty, and bad health. Charity can’t end hunger.
Winning this struggle requires a government-wide response to inadequate earnings, health, and food access, significantly when supermarket costs increase and safety net programmes are cut.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps 550,000 Kentuckians buy food each month by providing 9 meals for every 1 provided through food banks. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says that SNAP helps 1 in 10 Kentucky workers who don’t make enough money to put food on the table.
1 in 4 cashiers who rang up your Thanksgiving goods used SNAP. If they can afford them, the last year had the highest 12-month spike in food prices since 1979 due to the pandemic and war-induced inflation. Thanksgiving traditions are in trouble.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, butter, flour, and bakery products are more expensive. Because of the bird flu, turkeys are more expensive than they have ever been.
When adjusted for inflation, SNAP benefincreasedt up by 12.5% last month. People who got SNAP spent most of 2022 with payments that were based on how much food cost in 2021.
Families in Kentucky don’t get enough SNAP money. Congress did something in March 2020 to help people who were hungry because of the epidemic and the economic downturn that followed. They gave each person the maximum SNAP payment instead of the usual amount based on their income.
This gave the state an extra $100 per person and $50 million per month. Kentuckians will get these benefits as long as the federal and state governments keep COVID-19 as an emergency. In Kentucky’s previous legislative session, Senate Joint Resolution 150 ended the state’s public health emergency, robbing more than 500,000 Kentuckians of further benefits.
By April 2023, the federal government’s public health emergency will have cost the average SNAP participant in Kentucky more than $1,200 in food money.
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The USDA says that 12.3% of households in Kentucky don’t have enough food. That’s 2% more than the average for the whole country and one of the ten worst food insecurity rates in the country.
That money would have helped Kentucky farmers and businesses at farmers’ markets and grocery stores, which would have been good for the local economy.
SNAP helps fight hunger and make people healthier. Research shows that people who get SNAP are less likely to stay home sick, need medical care, or skip care because of the cost.
They spend less than other low-income people on health care. When SNAP adds to food budgets, people don’t have to choose between food and medicine as much. State and federal authorities must understand SNAP’s importance to Kentuckians’ health and well-being.
For this program and other safety nets to work, we need a strong Farm Bill and other policies that put feeding hungry families at the top of the list. This Thanksgiving, we should all remember that SNAP helps make Kentucky a healthy, successful place to live.