BURLINGTON (AP) -- Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders said Tuesday cuts in a federal emergency hunger program have resulted in a 50 percent reduction in food supplies from that program for the state’s leading distributor of food for the poor.
Sanders, who called the situation "unconscionable," appeared Tuesday with representatives from the Vermont Foodbank and Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf to highlight the issue.
"It is simply unacceptable that in this day and age, Vermont children go to bed hungry. And, it is unconscionable that the federal government would cut back on food and nutrition assistance to states as our nation struggles to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression," he said.
Sanders, a left-leaning independent, was joined at a news conference by John Sayles, the Vermont Foodbank CEO, and Rob Meehan, the executive director of the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf.
The senator warned that more cuts may be on the way because the House has refused to consider the Senate-passed farm bill. That measure pays for other federal food assistance programs including food stamps, school lunches and others.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program provides food at no cost to low-income Americans in need of short-term hunger relief, through organizations like the Vermont Foodbank.
During fiscal 2012, the Foodbank saw a 50 percent reduction in its allotment of food from that program, amounting to a drop of more than 1 million pounds of food.
Sanders cited figures from the group Hunger Free Vermont indicating one in eight Vermont households runs short of money for sufficient food sometimes. He said more than 12,000 Vermont children depend on food shelves each month and almost 10,000 Vermont seniors face the threat of hunger.