On Monday, June 24 United States Representative John Carney, D-DE, joined volunteers and staff at the Food Bank of Delaware in Milford, to help distribute food from its Mobile Pantry to low-income Delaware seniors. Representative Carney’s visit was, in part, to support the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is expected to see considerable cuts to the program under the new Farm Bill in Congress.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the SNAP program is the largest program in the “domestic hunger safety net.” Over 155,000 Delawareans receive SNAP benefits. Of the families receiving benefits, 82% had at least one person working in the last 12 months. In addition, 85% of Delaware families receiving SNAP benefits have children under 18 or one or more person over the age of 60 living with them.
Along with 25 other members in Congress, Congressman Carney took the SNAP Challenge, where he lived off $4.50 per day, the average budget for people living on Food Stamps, from June 18 to 24. Congressmen involved in the SNAP Challenge hoped to “learn more about the challenges of Delaware families suffering from hunger, and to gain a better understanding of the current structure of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).”
“The last several days have been a learning experience for me,” said Congressman Carney. “SNAP is an important topic right now in Washington as Congress debates and votes on the next version of the farm bill, which provides funding for the program. Doing this for one week is not the same as the struggle that many Delaware families face every day. But, I think this is an opportunity for me to learn as much as I can about the SNAP program and the choices that so many Delawareans have to make.”
Congressman Carney’s participation in the SNAP Challenge, coincided with the House of Representatives’ consideration of the 2013 Farm Bill. Carney voted against the Representatives’ version of the bill that he says would reduce funding for SNAP by $20.5 billion over the next ten years.
“To know that Congressman Carney is doing the SNAP Challenge and trying to understand the plight of snap clients is important,” stated Chad Robinson, Director of the Food Bank of Delaware in Milford. “We need him to talk with them and see how it affects their every day lives.”
In addition to living within his food budget, Congressman Carney met with individuals at the Food Bank of Delaware’s Milford branch on Monday, June 24 to attend a nutrition education session and help distribute items to families from the Food Bank’s Mobile Pantry. He also toured the new construction at the Milford site designed to enlarge the Food Bank’s storage capacity and provide educational courses through their new culinary school.
The Food Bank Culinary School offers job training to unemployed and under-employed individuals through a 14-week program. Twelve weeks of the program include hands-on training in safe food handling and life skills. The program also includes training in basic and high-end cooking skills. The final two weeks of the program include internships at a restaurant, catering or food service company. According to officials at the Food Bank of Delaware in Milford, construction on the new facility should be complete in late July with the opening date set for mid-August. For more information on the Food Bank of Delaware in Milford visit http://www.fbd.org or call 302-424-3301.