Chefs to Congress: Hungry kids need food stamps

As chefs, our lives revolve around food. Yet in the United States, 16 million kids struggle with hunger and more than 250,000 of those kids are from Maryland. We joined the fight against childhood hunger for them.

Fortunately, families can rely on programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). SNAP fights childhood hunger. The program makes it possible for families to put food on their tables, even when times are tough. In fact, SNAP is the most powerful and effective anti-hunger program for kids, providing benefits to approximately 23 million children nationwide each month.

Congress is looking to slash funding for SNAP, and that could kick more than 2 million people off of the program entirely and reduce benefits for another 400,000 households by approximately $90 a month. Cutting SNAP would be devastating to millions of kids in this nation and many children right here in Maryland, leaving them at risk for long-term hunger, health and educational problems.

Congress is also considering huge cuts to SNAP Nutrition Education. The program empowers families with the skills to get the most nutrition from their limited dollars. We should be investing more in such education, not slashing it.

We have to make sure we're investing in programs that strengthen the economy, create jobs, and make our country a great place to raise a family. SNAP does all that and besides, feeding our children isn't just the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do.

We're in this fight to speak up for the millions of kids across the country who can't speak up for themselves and say, "Protect SNAP today!"

Chris Ford and Jonah Kim, Baltimore

The writers are executive pastry chef of Wit + Wisdom and executive chef of Pabu.

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