Spokane Food Assistance Community Rallies Against Farm Bill

By Paige Browning

The U.S. Congress is expected to vote on a section of the farm bill Thursday that would cut 40-billion dollars of national food assistance. With food stamp recipients wide-eyed before the vote, Wednesday some activists in Spokane warned Congress about what cuts could mean.

Washington CAN and community members rallied outside the Second Harvest food bank donation center. Photo by Paige Browning.The organization Washington Community Action Network says 1.1 million people in WA depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). At a rally Wednesday, Zam DeShields said her family received food stamps when she was young. She and her siblings were diagnosed with auto-immune diseases, and her mother was a single parent for many years. DeShields says her mother faced medical and child support bills, and turned to food stamps when there were no other options.
 
DeShields: “Though it was a temporary period that we received food stamps, it provided for a vital aspect of keeping our family alive. The circumstances of our family were not expected, could not have been planned for, but they happened anyways.”

Photo: Washington CAN and community members rallied outside the Second Harvest food bank donation center. Photo by Paige Browning.
 
Her story represents the 42-percent of food stamp benefactors who are in working families, according to Washington CAN. The organization and city council president Ben Stuckart called on Congress from Spokane to vote no on this round of the farm bill.
 
A previous farm bill in July ignored supplemental nutrition, delaying that element of funding until now. House majority leader Eric Cantor, a Republican from Virginia, crafted the bill. NPR reports that the bill’s republican backers say it attacks fraud.

Copyright 2013 Spokane Public Radio
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