Feeding South Florida Responds to Proposed Budget Cuts

Pembroke Park (June 19, 2017) –   In response to the proposed federal budget cuts, Paco Vélez of Feeding South Florida has released the following statement:

 “Any cuts to SNAP benefits would increase demand on the nation’s charitable food system at a time when food banks are already stretched to meet sustained high need. Anytime cuts to federal programs are passed, nonprofits are always required to do more. Feeding South Florida (FSF) can’t do more without the support of the community. Whether it is volunteering time or donating funds, individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger.

As the sole Feeding America food bank serving South Florida, FSF is the leading domestic hunger-relief organization serving 784,110 individuals throughout Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties. Annually, FSF rescues 45 million pounds of food and distributes it through a network of nearly 400 nonprofit partner agencies and direct-service programs.

The White House’s budget proposes significant cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is the largest federal nutrition program, providing food to millions of Americans each year. The budget cuts SNAP by $193 billion over 10 years and makes numerous harmful policy changes to achieve those cuts. Specifically, the budget limits work waivers for adults on SNAP and categorical eligibility; cuts the standard utility allowance to determine heating assistance for SNAP participants; requires cost sharing for states to cover on average 25% of SNAP benefits; and removes the SNAP minimum benefit, among other changes.

A significant portion of the cuts would come from shifting 25 percent of the cost of benefits to states or $116 billion in additional costs to states – including approximately $9 billion to Florida over 10 years.

The budget also makes cuts to other nutrition programs, including the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), recommending $289 million in funding for TEFAP in FY2018, far below the $316 million for TEFAP food purchases provided in FY2017. This would mean 33 million less meals distributed through TEFAP in FY2018. The proposed reductions to SNAP and TEFAP are on top of additional funding reductions proposed to Medicaid, children’s health insurance, and programs upon which millions of food-insecure individuals rely.

With Feeding America, FSF is still analyzing the impact of these changes and will provide further analysis as we have it, but it this is just the first step in what’s sure to be a long road ahead.

Additional Details:

  • The budget also proposed cuts to The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). Any proposed cuts to TEFAP would limit Feeding South Florida’s ability to provide food assistance throughout Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties. Currently, approximately 20% of the food we distribute is TEFAP commodities.
  • The SNAP cuts proposed in the FY2018 budget submitted by President Trump would result in at least 45 billion meals lost over 10 years, as well as millions of meals lost to food banks through TEFAP funding cuts. Estimates show 33 million meals lost in FY2018 due to TEFAP cuts.
  • SNAP responds quickly to changes in need, growing in response to increases in poverty and unemployment, and declining as unemployment falls. The program is effective, provides a path out of poverty and hunger, and leads to improved educational outcomes, productivity, and health.

FY 2018 President’s Budget:

  • SNAP cuts: $193 billion in cuts to SNAP, resulting in at least 45 billion meals lost over 10 years. The proposals would reduce eligibility and benefits and shift significant costs to states.
  • TEFAP cuts: $289 million for TEFAP mandatory commodity purchases, which is a $27 million decrease from FY 2017 – this reflects a loss of 33 million meals in FY 2018. $54 million for TEFAP Storage and Distribution funds, which is a $5 million decrease from FY 2017
  • $23 million to continue summer EBT demonstration projects at current levels.
  • $6.15 billion to fully fund WIC.
  • $238 million for CSFP, an increase of $2 million from FY 2017.
  • $24.2 billion to fully fund child nutrition programs (school breakfast and lunch, summer and afterschool programs).
  • Reduction to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit by $40.4 billion over 10 years.
  • The budget proposed to eliminate the following programs: WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, School Meal Equipment Grants, LIHEAP, CDBG, CSBG, SSBG, the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, and AmeriCorps.

SNAP Facts:

  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly referred to as “food stamps”) is the cornerstone of the nutrition safety net, providing assistance to low-income Americans to ensure that they can get the nutrition they need.
  • As of January 2017, 42.6 million people were enrolled in SNAP. [Source: USDA.]
  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly “food stamps”) helps millions of low-income Americans put food on the table and provides benefits that are timely, targeted and temporary.
  • Nearly 90 percent (86.5%) of SNAP participants live in households that include a child, a senior or someone who is disabled. [Source: USDA, FY 2015 SNAP Characteristics Report, table A.14]
  • 9% of SNAP benefits go to households with children. [Source: USDA, FY 2015 SNAP Characteristics Report, table A.1]
  • Benefits currently average about $1.40 per person per meal. [Source: CBPP analysis of USDA data.]
  • According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, each $1 billion of retail generated by SNAP creates $340 million in farm production, $110 million in farm value-added, and 3,300 farm jobs
  • Every $1 billion of SNAP benefits also creates 8,900-17,900 full-time jobs
  • An additional $5 of SNAP benefits generates $9 in total economic activity
  • 83% of SNAP benefits, equal to $53.4 billion, were spent at 36,500 supermarkets around the U.S.; the remaining 17% was spent at 180,000 small retail stores (including grocery stores, farmers’ markets, wholesalers, and meal services), for a total of $11 billion
  • SNAP beneficiaries spend more dollars on food in local stores than eligible non-participants
  • An increase in SNAP participation by 5% would result in 2.1 million low-income Americans receiving $973 million in SNAP benefits, generating $1.8 billion in new economic activity.

About Feeding South Florida
Feeding South Florida’s mission is to end hunger in South Florida by providing immediate access to nutritious food, leading hunger and poverty advocacy efforts, and transforming lives through innovative programming and education. Feeding South Florida® is the sole Feeding America® food bank in South Florida, and the leading domestic hunger-relief organization in the region, serving 25 percent of the state’s food insecure population. Through a local network of more than 400 nonprofit partner agencies, Feeding South Florida rescues 44 million pounds of food annually, serving 784,110 individuals in need of food assistance, 264,280 of whom are children, and 130,000 are older adults, throughout Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties.