New Congress to be sworn in, future of food assistance programs a concern

Posted at 5:52 PM, Jan 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-03 19:52:10-05

With the 115th Congress being sworn in today, Arizona anti-hunger advocates are worried about the future of food-assistance programs, like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), formerly known as the food stamps program.

With no federal budget passed yet, advocates are concerned about what cuts backs lawmakers could make to these programs. In the past, lawmakers have made repeated proposals to limit these funds in the previous proposed budgets.

“We’re going to be forced to choose about whether we feed more hungry people, and Arizona has one of the highest food insecurity rates in the country. Or are we going to have to absorb those costs right here by Arizona tax payers?” said Angie Rodgers, CEO and president of the Association of Arizona Food Banks.

She says half of their food bank recipients go to them for emergency food when their SNAP benefits run out.

“We definitely see high demand, and we wouldn’t be able to provide the services that we do if we didn’t have solid nutritional foundation programs like SNAP, like WIC--the Women, Infants and Children program--and so we do need government partners in our effort to fight hunger,”Rodgers said.