To the Editor:
As a long-time resident of Fairfax County, I am concerned about congressional initiatives that would kick 1.7 million Americans off the Food Stamp Program (SNAP). The program has been a lifeline for millions of Virginians suffering the effects of the economic downturn. Even in our prosperous county, over 69,000 residents are at risk of experiencing hunger, including 15 percent of our children according to USDA. Hungry children don’t learn well at school, and are more susceptible to illness. Nearly 24 percent of Northern Virginia households don’t have adequate income to meet their monthly expenditures such as food, housing and transportation (Regional Profile of Northern Virginia, UVA 2011.) Some of the more insidious provisions of a recent House Bill (HR3102) include changing the definition of work requirement so that unemployed SNAP recipients would become ineligible for the program after three months of unemployment. The bill also includes an incentive for governors to kick people off the food stamp rolls, by allowing them to keep half the proceeds. It is important for our senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, to resist this effort, through the Farm Bill and other legislation, which would take food away from hungry Virginians.