LONG ISLAND, NY – Anti-hunger advocates have been quick to respond to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s statement that jobs go unfilled because people in the federal food-stamp program, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, are “doing too good.”
The remark was quoted in Politico, a political news journal.
Joel Berg, executive director of the New York Coalition Against Hunger, said most people receiving SNAP benefits already are working, or looking hard for a job.
“Among SNAP households with at least one working-age, non-disabled adult, more than half work while receiving SNAP,” he said, “and more than 80 percent work in the year before or the year after receiving SNAP.”
He praised New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for pledging to raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour, a move Berg said would be a major step toward ending hunger in the state.
Berg said the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is well below the poverty level for a full-time worker.
“No one in America should go hungry,” he said, “but if you’re working hard and playing by the rules, it’s particularly outrageous that you might not have enough food to feed your family because you just don’t earn enough.”
SNAP benefits for an individual average $126 a month, or about $1.40 per meal.
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