Posted by: JanF | November 27, 2013

Let’s Feed America

With the match, $1 will provide 18 meals.

When I was asked to do a blog post for a Feeding America Blogathon a few years ago, I set my Googles to the task: first, to find out what Feeding America was, and second, to find out a little bit more about food security in America and the food stamp program, SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program)

Feeding America has some pretty simple origins:

In the late 1960s, John van Hengel, a retired businessman in Phoenix, Arizona began volunteering at a local soup kitchen, and began soliciting food donations for the kitchen. He ended up with far more food than the kitchen could use in its operations. Around this time, he spoke with one of the clients, who told him that she regularly fed her family with discarded items from the grocery store’s garbage bins. She told him that the food quality was fine, but that there should be a place where unwanted food could be stored and later accessed by people who needed it, similar to how banks store money.

Van Hengel began to actively solicit this unwanted food from grocery stores, local gardens, and nearby produce farms. His effort led to the creation of St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix, the nation’s first food bank.

(I want to pause here for a minute to think about a time when a food kitchen had too much food).

The food banks became Second Harvest which in turn became Feeding America in 2008:

Feeding America is the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity. Our mission is to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger.

Each year, the Feeding America network provides food to more than 37 million low-income people facing hunger in the United States, including 14 million children and nearly 3 million seniors.

Our network of more than 200 food banks serves all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, securing and distributing more than 3 billion pounds of food and grocery products annually. Those member food banks support approximately 61,000 local charitable agencies and 70,000 programs, which provide food directly to individuals and families in need.


But Hunger in America is more than numbers, more than just pounds of food and dollars spent. Hunger in America has a face…the faces of those who depend on food pantries to survive. They are the people in these videos.



Republicans in the House of Representatives voted first for $40 billion in cuts to SNAP) and then to not fund it at all by passing the Farm Bill without food stamp assistance, promising to “get around to it someday”.

So what is stopping Republican House Members from funding food stamps?

Food Stamp Abuuuuuuse!! (If that sounds suspiciously like Benghaziiiii and IRSssssssss and ACOOOOOOORRRRNN that’s because it is … simply another fabricated right-wing “scandal”).

Food Stamp abuse is a myth … but Hunger in America is not a myth. From once-and-future-Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

(Read more here: Bill Moyers: Six Myths About Food Stamps )

Want some facts? Take the Feeding America Quiz (I am sure it will stump Republicans … although it might not surprise them at all, which would be even sadder).

Do you want to know who benefits from food stamps and food pantries? We all do. Because when we feed the hungry we exemplify the best of our Big-D Democratic Party values – putting people first and valuing human life.

Here is another organization asking for some help, political help this time:

Jan —

Last year, 49 million Americans struggled with hunger.

Many rely on food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to put healthy meals on the table.

This September, House leadership stripped $40 billion from this program, meaning — if funding isn’t restored — 3.8 million Americans will be booted off food stamps next year, and many will lose the security of knowing how they’ll feed their family.

Thanksgiving is a powerful reminder of just how cruel these budget cuts are to families in need. Now is a great time to speak out.

Add your name, and call on Speaker Boehner and House leaders to restore funding for food stamps that millions of families rely on.

This measure is not just mean spirited. It happens to be bad for the economy, too. Moody Analytics has found that nutrition assistance is one of the most effective forms of stimulus available, because the funds go right back into the economy.

Despite the talking points from the other side, you can’t ignore the fact that about half of SNAP recipients are children. Many others are veterans, the elderly, and the working poor.

Thanksgiving is a celebration of plenty, and a time to consider our friends and neighbors who aren’t as fortunate.

In that spirit, we’ve got to stand up for the millions of Americans who stand to lose access to this vital program.

Add your name, and tell House leaders to restore funding for food stamps:

Thanks — more soon,


Nico Probst
Director of Special Projects
Organizing for Action

P.S. — If you’d like to do more to support families in need this holiday season, please consider making a donation to Feeding America or contributing to a food drive in your community.

Here, let me make that easy for you.



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