Filed Under:  National

Will Congress let poor children go hungry?

26th September 2011   ·   0 Comments

By Sue Sturgis
Contributing Writer

(Special from Facing South) – As the number of Americans suffering from hunger reaches record levels, federal lawmakers take aim at funding for the WIC program, which feeds some of the most vulnerable among us.

• Number of low-income infants, children under age 5, and pregnant and breastfeeding women who get assistance each month from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Pro­gram for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC: 9 million

• Percent of those receiving WIC benefits who are infants and children: 77

• Percent of the U.S. poverty line that applicants’ gross income must fall at or below in order to be eligible for WIC assistance: 185

• Annual income that represents for a family of four: $41,348

• Number of eligible wo­men and children who would be turned away from the non-entitlement program next year due to funding cuts in the House appropriations bill passed in June: More than 700,000

• Number of eligible wo­men and children who would be turned away from the program in the 13 Southern states*: 250,800

• Date on which Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), chair of the House Appropriations Com­mittee’s agricultural subcommittee, defended the cuts as a way to make the government more efficient: 5/24/2011

• WIC funding cut approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this month: $152 million

• Percent by which the Senate funding level estimated that WIC food costs would grow next year: 2

• If WIC food costs remain at the level reported in June for the remainder of this fiscal year and through the next, with no further food price inflation, percent by which WIC food costs would actually grow next year: 3.8

• Under that scenario, additional funding the program would need to avoid turning away anyone in need: $42 million

• In 2010, percent of U.S. households that experienced food insecurity, meaning they did not always have access to enough food for all household members: 14.5

• Number of people that represents: 48.8 million

• Percent of households with children headed by a single woman who experienced food insecurity: 35.1

• Of the 13 Southern states, number where food insecurity was above the U.S. average between 2008 and 2010: 7**

• Percentage of households that experienced food insecurity during that period in Mississippi, the state with the highest rate: 19.4

* AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, TX, VA and WV
** AL, AR, FL, GA, MS, NC and TX

This article was originally published in the September 26, 2011 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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