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“When just five people call, we know we need to pay more attention.”
We hear this over and over again from elected officials, both in the state and in Washington, DC - that just a few calls can make all the difference in the world. Why? Because very few people take the time to make those calls! And if we don’t call, how can we expect the officials to know how their decisions affect real people who struggle every day? One of the most powerful assets that any community has in the fight against hunger and poverty is its own voice...it’s your voice and the voices of the families that are served.
And there has never been a more critical time to call. With a new Farm Bill being debated, the monthly allotment on SNAP (Food Stamp) EBT cards could go down, or even go away. Both your voice - and the voices of those most impacted - are needed to prevent cuts to the Food Stamp Program and protect families who are struggling to keep food on the table.
What is at stake?
The U.S. Senate passed earlier this week their version of the Farm Bill which cuts SNAP/Food Stamps by $3.9 billion. Next week, the House of Representatives will debate and possibly vote on their version which would cut $21 billion. The House version of the Farm Bill would cause 2 million individuals to lose food stamps, and another 850,000 to see a decrease by about $90 a month. On top of that, 210,000 kids would lose free school meals, as their eligibility is tied to their families’ SNAP benefits. Cuts on this scale are unacceptable. But this doesn’t have to happen.
Our legislators need to hear that serving those in need is a priority now.
Your voice matters. You can make the difference.
Call the Feeding America hotline at 866-527-1087 to be connected with your House Representative. We know that calling a legislator can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. Here are answers to some most frequently asked questions:
Question: I’m not an expert on this issue. How will I know what to say?
Answer: Neither is the legislator. When you can provide solid facts, it helps them come to a decision when it’s time to vote. Start with these compelling facts from Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap report just released on June 10: 20% of Georgians and 16.4% of the U.S. population are food insecure. Even worse, 28.8% of Georgia’s children and 22.4% of all American children are food insecure. Please convey in your own words why it’s not acceptable to cut the safety net by $21 billion when this many people are already struggling. Finally, if YOU have a personal experience to talk about, then you are far more of an expert than anyone in Washington. Your personal story will speak volumes!
Question: Will my call even matter?
Answer: Every call matters. So few people call elected officials that they pay attention to every single person they hear from. While in most cases, an aid will answer the call, they will take down your comments and give them to the legislator.
Question: I don’t have the time. Can I call later?
Answer: You can, but time is of the essence. It only takes a few minutes to leave a message.
After you’ve made your call, let your friends, family, colleagues, everybody know--share this post and cause on Facebook, Twitter or the social network of your choice and encourage them to do the same!