LETTER FROM LOS ANGELES ANTI HUNGER ORGANIZATIONS, ALLIES, ET AL, TO CALIFORNIA REPRESENTATIVES ON HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE
July 31, 2017
2222 M St, Suite 305
Merced, CA 95340
4701 Sisk Road, Suite 202
Modesto, CA 95356
RE: Defend SNAP/CalFresh
Dear Reps. Costa, Denham, Lamalfa, and Panetta:
We, the undersigned organizations fighting hunger and poverty in Los Angeles County, are writing to you, as Representatives from California on the House Agriculture Committee, to express our strong support for SNAP— the nation’s first line of defense against hunger.
Hunger touches every corner of California and SNAP (known as CalFresh in California) provides life-saving benefits that help working families, children and seniors afford food and make ends in meet. Over 6 million people live in poverty in the Golden state and 4 million Californians (including two million children) are food insecure.
SNAP benefits are designed to target those most in need when they need it most. In California, three-quarters of SNAP participants are families with children and nearly half are working families. In Los Angeles County, SNAP helped lift 527,000 households (1.1 million individuals) out of poverty, including 726,000 children and 80,000 seniors.
As the nation’s most effective federal stimulus, SNAP supports our state’s robust agricultural and retail sectors—linking low-income customers to much needed nutrition and driving local economic growth. Last year, SNAP pumped $ 1.8 billion in 100% federally funded benefits to Los Angeles County, generating $3.25 billion in local economic activity—supporting retailers, workers and economic growth in our county; In fact, if SNAP reached 100% of those eligible in Los Angeles County, we would see $ $1.2 billion in additional benefits, and $2.1 billion in local economic activity.
SNAP benefits have also been flowing to farmers in the Southern California foodshed extending down to San Diego County and up to Tulare County, thanks to programs such as Market Match which utilize federal dollars to incentivize SNAP purchases of healthy foods from farmers markets and now also from grocery stores and neighborhood markets.
California’s anti-hunger network assists Californians in need through voluntary participation of members of the food industry, faith-based, tribal, public and non-profit organizations, and private citizens often partnered with state and federal governments. This informal network collects donations, distributes food, and provides relief to hungry Californians every day – but it is not enough to close the hunger gap in California without the SNAP Program.
As organizations working to end hunger and poverty from a diverse range of cities and communities across Los Angeles County, we write to urge you to defend and strengthen SNAP because every community in California deserves to be hunger-free.