Ignite Change for our Clients: Contact Your Elected Officials
Reach out to our elected officials and tell them about your experience volunteering at the IFPO. Ask them to assist our food-insecure neighbors and low-income families in underserved communities by voting for the 2023 Farm Bill. Telephone numbers and a suggested letter template can be found below.
Why this is important: Legislators keep track of the number of phone calls, emails, and letters they receive on an issue. When they receive a lot of input on a particular issue, they have a better understanding of what matters to their constituents. Your voice can help inform their decision-making.
Issue: Supporting the 2023 Farm Bill
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress increased SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) through Emergency Allotments designed to help mitigate America’s deepening hunger crisis. But these temporary boosts ended on March 1, 2023. All SNAP recipients have suffered cuts to their monthly benefits. The average SNAP benefits have fallen to a meager $6 per person per day. Older adults at the minimum benefit level in New Jersey saw their monthly SNAP benefits fall from $281 to $95.
These cuts come just as food prices are soaring, so our clients are simultaneously impacted by both higher food costs and reduced food benefits. Combined with the strain of skyrocketing heating, transportation, and housing costs, our clients are facing a hunger cliff.
----To learn about priorities in the 2023 Farm Bill that could impact SNAP recipients, click here.
What you can do:
Contact our New Jersey Senators, Senator Robert Menendez and Senator Cory Booker, and our local representatives, to ask that support the 2023 Farm Bill. Supporting the Farm Bill will allow families to continue to put food on the table for their children.
Senator Cory Booker
973-639-8700 (Newark, NJ Office)
Write to Senator Booker: https://www.booker.senate.gov/contact/write-to-cory/form
Senator Robert Menendez
(202) 224-4744 (Washington DC office)
Write to Senator Menendez: https://www.menendez.senate.gov/contact/email
Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (10th District)
Contact Rep. Mikie Sherrill (11th District)
Sample Letter Template Regarding The 2023 Farm Bill
Subject: 2023 Farm Bill
As your constituent and a volunteer at the Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges (IFPO), I urge you to strengthen SNAP benefit adequacy and equitable access through the 2023 Farm Bill.
The IFPO is an all-volunteer, supplemental food pantry helping to meet essential human needs of food-insecure residents of Orange, East Orange, and West Orange, NJ with dignity and respect. In 2022, the IFPO saw over 21,000 pantry visits, assisting more than 540 clients and their families each pantry week. This is a 27% increase over our 2021 weekly average and our numbers continue to climb! Many of our clients struggle to balance their responsibilities and expenses, all while keeping a roof over their heads and putting food on their tables. 45% of the individuals who are assisted by the fresh produce and groceries the IFPO provides are children.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), our nation’s most significant anti-hunger program, promotes economic security, health, and well-being. Please pass a Farm Bill which protects and strengthens SNAP.
SNAP responds effectively and efficiently to changes in needs, whether due to economic downturns, natural disasters, or other disruptions. More recently, it has proven to be a crucial tool for mitigating food hardship and supporting local economies during the pandemic, through the provision of temporary SNAP Emergency Allotments.
With an end to SNAP Emergency Allotments, SNAP food benefits have decreased to an average of only about $6 per person per day. Moreover, SNAP benefits are not available to all people with low incomes who need them. Going forward, it is vital to protect and further strengthen SNAP benefit adequacy and equitable access.
Our nation must do more to address hunger. SNAP has a key part to play. The 2023 Farm Bill presents opportunities to make further progress. I urge Congress to work to strengthen SNAP and protect the program from cuts or other harmful changes.
[your name and town]