While all of you were participating in the national call-in day on September 13th, I was fortunate to be in Washington D.C., along with more than 40 advocates from food banks across the country.
I was grateful to have Kathi, the Director of the West Yellowstone Food Bank, with me to educate our members on the economic challenges and the importance of food programs to her community and the people she serves. We met with all three of Montana’s Congressional offices and shared what we all know and see every day – that people in Montana are working hard and doing their best to provide for their families but it is not easy.
Many of our jobs come with low-wages, no benefits, unpredictable schedules, and part-time hours. These are jobs that we depend on each and every day at restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, hotels. They are people who care for our loved ones or help teach our children. But these jobs often don’t pay enough to allow workers to make ends meet without a little extra help.
We emphasized how vital SNAP is in supporting workers and keeping people connected to the workforce. I urged our Congressional delegation to support the Senate-passed SNAP provisions, which protect SNAP and further strengthen this crucial program.
We also discussed TEFAP, the Emergency Food Assistance Program, which helps ensure that Montana’s food pantries and meal programs have enough food to distribute. TEFAP allows the USDA to purchase foods from our nation’s farmers and ranchers, helping to stabilize agriculture markets while providing the emergency food system with high qualify, nutritious foods. TEFAP is truly the cornerstone of the emergency food system, often making up 50% or more of the food on a pantry’s shelves. I asked our Congressional members to provide strong funding for TEFAP in the final Farm Bill.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the national call-in day! More than 900 calls were made nationwide! But we aren’t done yet. Congress will likely be working on the final Farm Bill over the next few months. Our members need to hear loud and clear that Montana wants a Farm Bill that protects SNAP, TEFAP, and our other food assistance programs.
Don’t wait for another call-in day. Get on the phone any day and them know SNAP is good for Montana!
Chief Policy Officer