To the editor,

As the front page article in the Herald reported (on Sept. 15), "more have less" in Grand Forks last year despite local efforts such as the United Way campaign to eliminate poverty and reverse this distressing situation.

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East Grand Forks Mayor Steve Gander (in an opinion piece published in the Herald) acknowledges, besides local efforts, there are good people in government working hard to provide a safety net for those who desperately need it. While one in 20 bags of food assistance comes from a charitable organization, federal nutrition programs provide the rest.

So why are some members of Congress taking aim at the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps), the very program that helps working families put food on the table?

Nationwide, new census data shows that 1 in 8 Americans are living at or below the poverty line. Local efforts are critical, but so are federal programs that people depend on. SNAP is the first line of defense against hunger in America. It is one of the most efficient government programs; more than 99 percent of benefits go to eligible households. In fact, SNAP lifted nearly 3.6 million people nationwide above the poverty line, serving over 41 million people per month across the country. For the 2015 fiscal year, the monthly average of residents here in North Dakota receiving SNAP help was 53,148.

I hope I can count on my congressional representative, Mr. Kevin Cramer, to stand with families and kids when it comes time to vote on the 2018 budget proposal that asks for $150 billion in cuts to SNAP, including $10 billion in fast track cuts. I hope Herald readers who share my concern will contact him and tell him to vote "no" against cutting SNAP funding.

Kathleen Ness

Grand Forks