How Changes in SNAP Will Affect Childhood Food Insecurity in Austin
Every day in the greater Austin area, there are over 100,000 children who are food insecure. One out of five kids doesn’t know where their next meal will come from. That number is about to go up due to changes in the U.S. government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
This program is administered by the states. They are currently allowed to set some of the eligibility rules based on their local economic circumstances. Changes in SNAP will curtail some of that flexibility forcing states to administer the program using federally established eligibility limits. For example, Texas allows families receiving SNAP benefits to own a car valued up to $15,000. The federal rules will lower that value to an amount that will exclude the vast majority of cars owned by SNAP recipients in Texas. Owning a less valuable car often means owning a less reliable car. Unreliable transportation is a huge factor in job loss for economically disadvantaged families. Most SNAP participants have a work requirement, further exacerbating the potential challenges this single rule change could create. Most SNAP recipients who are able to work do so, they just don’t earn enough to make ends meet.
The trickle-down impact will be that food banks and other charitable food assistance programs are going to be stretched. At current giving levels, families in need will have access to less food, and fewer families will be served at all. When these programs are unable to meet the need, the burden will be shifted right back onto hungry households.
We could use your help. Hungry Souls provides menus and groceries to families of school children on weekends and school breaks to fill in the gap when children don’t have access to free and reduced-cost school breakfasts and lunches. We would love to serve more of the 100,000 children in the Austin area who would benefit from our program while planning ahead for more children who will be in need. Please check out our giving page to learn how you can give and volunteer. Become a part of the solution for hungry children in our area.