food stamp outreach project funding is eliminated
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The Central Illinois Economic Development Corp.
expressed disappointment and concern Feb. 8 about the recent
decision by Congress to eliminate funding for the Community Food and
Nutrition Program in fiscal 2006. The program, which is the only
designated source of federal resources that can be used for
anti-hunger outreach and advocacy, is used by Central Illinois
Economic Development Corp. and community-based organizations
throughout the nation to help ensure that children and families have
access to adequate food.
CIEDC has used the program since
2005 to fund a food stamp outreach project. To date this project
has, without duplication, connected over 5,200 hungry individuals
with food. As a consequence of the congressional decision to
eliminate funding for the Community Food and Nutrition Program, the
Central Illinois Economic Development Corp. will no longer be able
to work with the community's low-income families to facilitate their
participation in the food stamp program.
CIEDC's executive director, said, "When the number of children
living in poverty is increasing in America and Illinois, we had
hoped there would be an increase in funding, not an elimination of
funding." Poverty data from the U.S. Census Bureau points to an
increase in child poverty to 17.8 million in 2004, up from 16.7
million in 2002.
Kathy Shepherd, coordinator of the food stamp outreach project
for CIEDC, said, "We are disappointed that the fiscal year 2006
budget fails to provide an investment in increasing the
accessibility of federal child nutrition programs."
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"The ability to obtain enough food for an active, healthy life is
the most basic of human needs," Stoltzenburg continued. "Households
that lack sufficient resources to provide food cannot achieve this
fundamental element of well-being."
The Community Food and Nutrition Program is coordinated at the
state level by the Illinois Community Action Association. The
association's food security specialist, Holly Copeland, said,
"Oftentimes, the mere presence of the food stamp program does not
ensure that those eligible are participating or even aware of its
existence. The CFNP resources helped to bridge that gap between
nonparticipating eligible families and the food stamp program."
[Central Illinois Economic Development
Corp. news release]