Changes to Merrill Avenue would be a step backwards
On August 2nd, I joined numerous social service organizations, churches, schools, health care providers, and other community members to discuss the critical issue of hunger in Dawson County. We shared concerns about hunger in our rural communities, challenges with transportation, and the need to better connect people to services and programs.
Over 1,100 residents of Dawson County struggle with hunger, increasing their risk of overall poor health, chronic disease, and mental illness. SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, is a lifeline, effectively reducing hunger and supporting the well-being of our kids, seniors, low wage workers, and many others.
As a counselor, I see firsthand the emotional and mental toll of struggling to provide for a family when incomes are limited –– and that is exactly why SNAP is so important to serve our most vulnerable community members. Reducing hunger supports more than just physical health, it is foundational for our mental health too.
In September, the U.S. House will likely be voting on their proposed federal budget, which currently includes staggering cuts to SNAP. These cuts would be devastating for our Montana families and communities, with long-term impacts on both physical and mental health that are far greater than any immediate budget savings.
I urge our Congressional members to keep the challenges and experiences of all Montanans in mind as they work towards a federal budget. Our budget should reflect our values and priorities, and that includes reducing hunger and protecting SNAP.