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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 1, 2013

CONTACT:
Steve Hahn at 727-592-8022

STATEMENT BY AARP FLORIDA STATE DIRECTOR JEFF JOHNSON ON

THE REDUCTION OF FEDERAL FOOD ASSISTANCE TAKING EFFECT TODAY

ST. PETERSBURG – “AARP is deeply concerned about how funding cuts that begin today will impact the record number of Americans who rely on federal aid to put food on the table. Cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), mean the average family of four will receive $118 a year less in food assistance,” said AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson.

Hunger is a pervasive problem in Florida, a state where according to the Pew Charitable Trust, 18 percent of the population receives support through SNAP.  Not only does the program lessen the impact of poverty, it is also a spur for the economy. Every $5 spent on SNAP adds $9.20 to the economy, supporting jobs at food processors, grocery stores and farms.

“When it comes to older adults, it’s easy to imagine that Social Security and Medicare provide sufficient protection against a problem as basic as hunger. Yet the average Social Security benefit is just over $1,200 a month — and a majority of seniors today rely on Social Security as their largest source of income. Over 9 million Americans ages 50 and above are suffering from food insecurity – a staggering increase of over 70 percent during the last ten years,” Johnson said.

While AARP members urge federal lawmakers to restore important SNAP funding, they are also encouraging people to do their part by contributing time and money to local food banks, food relief efforts and AARP’s Drive to End Hunger, an effort that combats hunger among people 50 and older through raising awareness, building philanthropic support and developing long-term, sustainable solutions www.drivetoendhunger.org.

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