Melinda Henneberger’s column “Restocking the Pantries: Private Charity Can’t Raise Enough to Feed the Hungry” (Nov. 15) presents a powerful argument that cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program pose an insurmountable challenge to charities attempting to help people struggling with hunger. But the column severely understates the additional private charitable effort that would be needed to make up for severe SNAP cuts. Ms. Henneberger stated that cost at $15,000 per church per year, while the actual number calculated by Bread for the World is a whopping $50,000 per church per year. Each church in the United States would have to find that much more each year to replace the $133 billion in nutrition program cuts included in the budget passed by the U.S. House of Representatives — not counting the additional nearly $4 billion per year SNAP cuts proposed in the House’s “nutrition only” farm bill.
The SNAP cuts that began on Nov. 1 will remove $33 million dollars in food assistance and food purchases from our area over the next year. That’s equivalent to the loss of more than 12 million meals. With so many Americans still coping with unemployment, underemployment and poverty, now is not the time to cut nutrition assistance programs. Churches and charity can’t do it alone. The government must do its part and that means that our members of Congress must ensure that efficient and effective nutrition programs are strengthened and not subjected to additional cuts.
DENNIS P. McMANUS
Government relations manager
Great Pittsburgh Community Food Bank