Just last week, a former SNAP recipient, Kim Foxx, won the Democratic primary for Cook County (Illinois) State’s Attorney. Following her victory, she appeared on MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” where she shared how, as a child, she dreamed of becoming a lawyer when she witnessed people supporting vulnerable little girls like her. As a result of her determination – and her mother’s encouragement – Kim overcame the challenges of living in a now-demolished public housing project in Chicago to become the seasoned legal practitioner she is today.
It’s been 41 years since Foxx appeared at age two, pictured in her mother’s arms, in a 1975 Chicago Tribune article in which her mother talked about the devastating impact President Ford’s proposal to reduce food stamp benefits would have on struggling single mothers like herself. The proposal didn’t pass.
Sadly, all these years later, despite being proven time and again in its effectiveness of lifting and keeping millions of people out of poverty, SNAP remains threatened. On the same day Kim’s story aired, the House Budget Committee proposed a SNAP block grant (titled “State Flexibility Fund”), which would rob the program of its greatest strengths, e.g., key basic rules that protect hungry people in all states, with the ability to expand in times of economic or natural disaster, and then retract when conditions improve.
We must continue to shine a light on the many success stories, such as that of Kim Foxx, to further educate Congress (pdf) that SNAP is an investment in the future of individuals, and in the country overall. Without SNAP, hunger and poverty in this country would be far, far worse–and Kim’s story could have had a very different ending.