Nick Bates | Nick Bates is a Deacon in the ELCA and a member of the Deaconess Community’s Communications Committee. He is the Director of Hunger Network in Ohio, which is a Mission Support Grant Recipient. 

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is our nation’s top tool to combat the pervasive issue of hunger. The elderly, disabled, and low-income Americans are eligible to receive this benefit that provides about $127 a month. Despite claims to the contrary, research continuously shows that SNAP is highly effective and efficient at reducing hunger with little fraud or waste in the program.  Most states put barriers to adults without children and limit eligibility to only a few months or require additional bureaucratic barriers. In Ohio, for example, 84% of beneficiaries are children, the elderly and those with disabilities.

The Trump administration has proposed a drastic 25% cut – or $190 billion –  to the SNAP program.  The Trump administration wants to push more people to demonstrate that they are working to continue to remain eligible, despite evidence shows that most SNAP households are working. 

This is a time for the faith community to lift our voices to those in authority. For thousands of years, Christians have participated in fasting as a spiritual discipline to focus our attention on what God needs us to do, and likewise for thousands of years Christians have worked to feed the hungry. We need to continue to fast, pray and advocate for those who are hungry by the following action:

  1. Pray that Congress opposes these cuts, invite others to join your prayer
  2. Sign up for E-action alerts from ELCA advocacy
  3. Write a letter to your local newspaper editor. 
  4. Call your Congressional Representative. 
  5. Attend a Town Hall or set up an in-district meeting with your representative. 

Budgets are moral documents and denying children, the elderly, and those who are disabled access to food is immoral. Stephen was called upon by the Apostles to wait on the tables. Likewise, we are now called to a similar task that will help guarantee that those who are hungry receive their daily bread.