Judith Pilla of Radnor Monthly Meeting has published a letter to the editor in the December 23 Philadelphia Inquirer following a trip to Washington, DC, to lobby lawmakers on the importance of preserving the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits. The lobby visit was part of Friends Committee on National Legislation’s recent Annual Meeting and Lobby Day a few weeks ago. The Farm Bill, which included language preserving a more comprehensive set of SNAP benefits, passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives following lobby efforts by Friends and other like-minded folks. Philadelphia Yearly Meeting had one of the very largest delegations to FCNL’s lobby day and Annual Meeting. For more information on FCNL, please visit fcnl.org. The text of Judith’s letter to the editor is below:
“One of the most effective U.S. anti-poverty programs is now on its way to the president’s desk for signature, partly due to efforts of more than 400 Quakers, many from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Through the Friends Committee on National Legislation, Washington’s oldest faith-based lobby, Quakers recently traveled to Capitol Hill to convince Congress that SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) must remain intact, without harsh provisions in the House version that would have cut out people struggling to find or keep work.
SNAP feeds 2,750,000 residents of the three states; 38 percent are children. SNAP improves work and school performance, helps prevent childhood developmental delays, and keeps many out of poverty. SNAP enabled one Philadelphia mother to replace the pictures of food she showed her children to quell their hunger with real food. Protecting SNAP is a national victory and a gift long after the holidays for all who live in our region.”