District Office: 792 E. Delavan Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14215, 716-897-9714
Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes
June 8, 2012
Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy
Albany - Assemblymember Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes (D-Buffalo) Chair of the Assembly's Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy called on the U.S. Senate to adopt Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's amendment to the Farm Bill next week to restore food assistance benefits to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. She also is supporting other amendments to better serve NY farmers.
According to Peoples-Stokes, "The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides crucial support for working families struggling to get by on low wages in this economy. That is why even President George W. Bush supported expanding access to food stamp benefits. Unfortunately, the Senate Agriculture Committee has attempted to pay for some of the Farm Bill on the backs of these families by including a provision that would reduce SNAP monthly benefits for nearly 300,000 households in NYS. I commend Senator Gillibrand who fought these cuts in the Committee and will offer an amendment to reverse the cut."
The proposed cuts would penalize households who pay their utilities as part of their rent. This provision disproportionately impacts New York renters. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the proposed SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) cuts would result in an average reduction of $90 per month for nearly a half a million households, including 300,000 in New York. The Gillibrand amendment would also add $500 million over 10 years for more fresh fruits and vegetables for school children and authorize more purchases of surplus farm products for use in emergency food programs.
"Half of SNAP beneficiaries are children. Children need more fruits and vegetables and proper nutrition to be able to concentrate on schoolwork and avoid developing costly nutrition-related health problems such as obesity and diabetes. The families who receive this assistance hardly make it through the month now and often end up at food pantries and soup kitchens to get enough to eat. We can't keep asking churches and other voluntary agencies to replace federal assistance for hungry children," added Assemblymember Peoples-Stokes.
In addition to the Gillibrand amendment, Peoples-Stokes supports amendments to better assist northeast farmers including help for beginning farmers and organic farmers and more targeted crop assistance for struggling farmers and to promote conservation.