Hunger Coalition Attacks my USA Today Hunger Piece

Editorial-Politics-driving-food-stamps-growth-E51PR1DF-x-largeMy USA Today oped on “Washington’s Latest Hunger Charade”  is being reprinted in newspapers around the nation. It popped up in a few places in New Jersey and spurred the response below from the director of the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition.

This anti-hunger activist laments that “USDA found that some 17 million people across the country live in households where they had to eat less than the typical American at times due to having limited resources.”  First, this is a very subjective, if not vaporous, standard.  Second, when obesity is so widespread, why is eating less than the typical American inherently a problem?  Roughly seven times as many low-income kids are obese as are underweight, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition touts food stamps as a silver bullet against food insecurity.  Then why is food insecurity far higher now than before the recession despite a vast increase in the number of food stamp recipients?  Low-income people on food stamps have much higher rates of “food insecurity” than low-income households who do not rely on food stamps.

 Food ‘insecurity’ is a genuine problem

Mr. Bovard’s criticisms of the report are incorrect. Food insecurity is much more than fearing one would run out of food on one day. According to the department’s website, the USDA counts a household as food insecure only after it meets three or more conditions. These range from worries over food running out before a family can afford more to actually running out of food to being unable to eat for a day because a family lacked the money to pay for more.

Many Americans face worse than just food insecurity. The USDA found that some 17 million people across the country live in households where they had to eat less than the typical American at times due to having limited resources.

This is an important measure of the problems Americans — and New Jerseyans — face in feeding themselves and their families. In New Jersey, the USDA report found, more than 1 million people are food insecure and some five percent of households, or about 420,000 people, have more significant meal disruptions and have to forgo meals at times because they lack the funds.

The USDA’s report shows a slight decline in food insecurity, which is good news. Still, the number of those facing hunger remains higher than prior to the recession and has been stubbornly slow at falling.

With so many still having trouble providing enough nutritious food for their families, it is vital that Congress and President Obama at least maintain the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program at its current level. SNAP, formerly called food stamps, is the most effective program for battling hunger. It has been cut by Congress in recent years. We cannot afford any additional reductions. Washington also needs to support strategies that increase employment levels and increase wages.

Hunger does not discriminate, affecting children, senior citizens and the working poor. We have solutions like SNAP that work. We must use them to provide the maximum benefit to all those who need help.

Adele LaTourette


New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition

The New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition is a statewide network of more than 100 organizations working to end hunger in New Jersey through education, advocacy and activism. For more information, visit


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3 Responses to Hunger Coalition Attacks my USA Today Hunger Piece

  1. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit September 27, 2015 at 3:39 pm #

    And Ghu wept.

    I wonder if Adele LaTourette would support scrapping the food stamp program (and its ilk) in its entirety and substituting a chain of State-run cafeterias where people could go and get four meals a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner, mid-rats) and a bagged nourishing snack (apple, carrot stick baggie, whatever). It’s the only way I can see to ensure that a) food insecurity ceases to plague the nation and b) I as the guy footing the bill for this can be sure that my money is going into providing solid nutrition and not Cheetoes for the obese and not-obese among the food stamp users. Add some Meals On Wheels for those too incapacitated to get to a feeding station and it should be good-to-go.

    Alternatively, for those who argue that that wouldn’t be convenient, then perhaps a once-a-week delivery of a box of, again, government food. Balanced for nutrition, naturally. It would even be possible to set those boxes up as canned goods, so recipients wouldn’t need to even figure out recipes – we can even resurrect an old name for them: Meal, Combat, Individual.,_Combat,_Individual_ration

    Then … any hunger or food insecurity becomes purely a choice on the part of the individual. If you want to sell off your Tuesday’s Ham and Moth******ers” for a bag of Nacho Doritos … great. But Ms. LaTourette cannot then bitch about how the hungry are not being provided for. She can put her efforts into saying “Shut up and eat your vegetables” to them, instead of babbling nonsense on the editorial pages…..

  2. Jim September 27, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

    Lawhobbit, direct govt. provision of food would solve some of the problems that food stamps create. But cafeterias would spur many other problems. There is no simple or humane solution.

    Unfortunately, the problem has become far worse because the govt. has encouraged scores of millions of people to rely on Uncle Sam for their next meal. There are millions of people who do need assistance but USDA and politicians have expanded the situation so that it has become a first resort for many people who could otherwise done as well without govt. intervention.

    It would be a very helpful first step if USDA publicly revealed how food stamp recipients spend their benefits. But they are keeping that info concealed – perhaps to defend the program’s nutritional @credibility. USDA and other agencies spend millions of dollars for research on hunger, obesity, and malnutrition. But the feds are withholding key info that could make the research far more worthwhile.

  3. BrianWilson September 28, 2015 at 11:16 am #

    “scrapping the food stamp government program”?

    “…publicly reveal[ing] how food stamp recipients spend their benefits”?

    Har D. Har-Har

    “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!” RonnieR @#40

    Practical “solution”: 1 XLG bag “Orville Redenbacher’s Butter Popcorn”, favorite beverage, Barcalounger. Gather together. Assume “Recline” position in Barcalounger. Watch “The Lemming Parade” til done…