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Food

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Many Texan families struggle to afford food, and one in four Texan children are at the highest risk for hunger. At the same time, more Texans are obese than ever before, and the health costs associated with it are soaring. Although these issues seem unrelated, hunger and obesity are two sides of the same coin. Processed and high-calorie foods are often the cheapest source of food for Texans. The Texas Legislature needs to take necessary actions to make sure all Texans have access to an...

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Many Texan families struggle to afford food, and one in four Texan children are at the highest risk for hunger. At the same time, more Texans are obese than ever before, and the health costs associated with it are soaring. Although these issues seem unrelated, hunger and obesity are two sides of the same coin. Processed and high-calorie foods are often the cheapest source of food for Texans. The Texas Legislature needs to take necessary actions to make sure all Texans have access to an affordable and nutritious diet.



Texas has the third highest rate of families at risk for hunger in the nation. Food insecurity affects all of us; it is estimated that hunger costs the nation more than $9 billion annually for the costs of charity, illness, and lowered productivity. The Texas Food Policy Roundtable has identified four areas where change can greatly benefit Texas with minimal cost to the state: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Summer Food Programs, Sustainability and Nutrition, and Obesity.

In a state where more than 18 percent of residents are at risk of hunger, the sole goal of food programs should be to ensure that food gets to those who need it. Lawmakers should keep all state food policy decisions coherently focused on leveraging all available food resources to the maximum extent. Almost all of the food assistance available in Texas is federally funded; the state saves nothing and hinders economic activity by limiting access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but year after year, about one out of every three Texans who could qualify for SNAP is not enrolled in the program.

In the past, lawmakers have considered food assistance policies that try to “kill two birds with one stone,” such as restricting foods available to SNAP recipients as a way to steer poor people toward healthy foods and thus minimize tax costs of diet-related diseases such as diabetes. However laudable this goal is, food restrictions discourage stores from accepting SNAP, creating barriers for individuals who already need help and who often live in areas without grocery stores known as “food deserts.” Similarly, bureaucratic measures such as drug testing for SNAP applicants cost taxpayers more to implement than they save and needlessly punish applicants’ children.

 

Note: This post was originally sent by Rev. Dan De Leon, Senior Pastor of Friends Congregational Church in College Station, to church members.

Over the High Holidays, my rabbi asked our congregation to participate in a week-long Food Stamp Challenge—to limit our food spending to the equivalent of “food stamp” benefits, $31.50 per person, for one week. “What a great way to raise awareness about hunger, poverty, and food issues in our community!” I thought.

I liked the idea of people in my congregation participating in the challenge. But I didn’t want to do it myself.

Event Date: 
Monday, October 27, 2014 -
5:30pm to 7:00pm

When: October 27, 2014, 5:30PM-7PM

Where: St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Tyler, TX

            215 S Clayton Ave, Tyler, TX

RSVP: Scott Atnip, scott@texasimpact.org