WHEN THE House of Representatives passed the Farm Bill last Wednesday, they demonstrated that they are blind to the reality of hunger and poverty in America. They fail to account for the human consequences of the massive $8.6 billion cut to SNAP, also known as food stamps. This cut will impact more than 850,000 households nationwide.
Every day, we see firsthand the impossible trade-offs that parents make to survive. Our research with Philadelphia families, in their homes and in the emergency room at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, shows undeniable evidence that families have to choose between paying their rent and utilities or feeding their families. Families describe how they cannot afford heating costs, so they heat their homes with their stoves in the winter. Not only can this trade-off cause life-threatening fires, but it can't keep kids warm enough, putting them at risk for hospitalization with upper respiratory infections and other preventable illnesses. Pediatricians spotted these trade-offs years ago, calling it the "heat or eat" syndrome.