By: Laura Wall
No matter your view of the outcome, the results of the recent election will have significant implications for the region’s poor and vulnerable residents. With one in four Philadelphians, including the 36% of Philadelphia children living in poverty, potential cuts to benefits and support services will be devastating, with implications that will be felt for generations.
While we don’t have a crystal ball, advocates for low-income Americans are preparing for a tough road as the new Congress and President-elect take office. Many factors – from campaign tax proposals that will overwhelmingly benefit the ultra-rich, to review of House Speaker Ryan’s previous budget proposals – indicate attacks to diminish resources for services that help the most vulnerable among us.
For over two decades The Coalition has worked to protect those resources and support families and individuals struggling to put food on their tables. We have connected tens of thousands of people with SNAP benefits, free summer meals, local pantries and food resources, and increased access to school breakfast and healthy food. And we have advocated at the local, state and federal level on behalf of those who need us most – people struggling with hunger.
We all need adequate nourishment each day. Fortunately there are national nutrition programs that help to make that possible – protecting children, seniors and families -- all ages, races, faiths, and life circumstances. Without these far reaching and cost-effective programs — SNAP, school breakfast and lunch, Child and Adult Care Food Program (supporting nutrition in child care and senior centers), Head Start, afterschool programs, summer food programs— food insecurity would be far worse.
In 2017 The Coalition will be at the forefront of efforts to protect and preserve benefits and programs that help families to become stable, and to increase the impact of our region’s anti-hunger initiatives.
This will include working with anti-hunger partners to develop and implement a plan to improve the region’s emergency food system; holding a symposium of non-profit leaders, funders and others working on behalf of those impacted by poverty on strategies to work together to protect resources for those who need them most; and increased advocacy efforts to support and protect federal nutrition programs
Pledges to “make America great again” will join the long history of unfulfilled campaign promises if hunger deepens and the growing division in income disparity widens. Our pledge is to work to ensure that no one goes hungry in America.
Now more than ever, the resolutions we make at this time of year must include a call to action.
We invite you to join us!