SNAP in the Farm Bill helps our neighbors at survive

Vicki Schmidt

Peter Schmidt

West Fargo

Congress has an important opportunity to support our farmers and people who eat through the Farm Bill, an important piece of legislation across North Dakota. Among the many things the Farm Bill does is fund the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which helps families with children, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities get enough to eat.

Nearly half of the people who participate in SNAP in North Dakota are children, almost half of North Dakota households receiving SNAP benefits have a member with disabilities, and 28 percent have an elderly member. SNAP helps keep food on the table when people go through hard times, and the Farm Bill helps farmers through hard and uncertain times like now.

Church members across North Dakota are responding to the needs of our neighbors with food pantries, donations, and other innovative ways to share produce and nutrition. Yet, we know that we can’t do it alone–for every meal provided through food banks in the U.S., SNAP provides 12 meals.

The U.S. House and the Senate have both passed different versions of a Farm Bill; the bi-partisan Senate version strengthens SNAP and does not make severe cuts or put bureaucratic burdens between people and the food they need to thrive. We urge our Congress, and our North Dakota delegation who are all serving on the Farm Bill conference committee, to use the Senate version as a model going forward.

As people of faith, we believe that when we serve those who struggle with hunger, we are serving Jesus Christ himself. We pray that Congress will stay on track and do its part to end hunger by 2030.The Senate Farm Bill is a good step in that direction.

She is a member of the Hunger and Justice Committee, Eastern ND Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He is a retired pastor with the same synod.