The AME Church asks that more governmental efforts focus on affordable career training opportunities, affordable higher education, student loan forgiveness programs, student loan interest forgiveness, employment programs, and assisting states in increasing minimum wage to help both unemployed and working adults, instead of cutting the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP) and other programs established to assist with basic human needs.
On December 4, 2019, the current administration moved forward in a decision to cut food assistance to 700,000 unemployed and underemployed SNAP participants ages 18 to 49 years old. Taking away supplemental resources further hinders an individual's ability to regain financial stability in the face of navigating rent, mortgages, insurance, car payments or other transportation costs, health insurance, and an antiquated tax system that in many cases requires single individuals to pay more federal and state taxes. This also penalizes a person laid off and job closing who paid taxes to support SNAP, only to find themselves unable to benefit from a program their taxes dollars contributed to while they were employed.
SNAP is a valuable resource to access healthy food for individuals and families. The nutritional food provided through SNAP supports a healthy body and provides basic needs while individuals navigate challenging life situations, unemployment, and health crisis. Matthew 25: 37 and 40 states, "Then the righteous will answer him, Lord when did we see you hungry and fed you or thirsty and give you something to drink? The King will reply, I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
Providing resources, such as SNAP for those in our nation navigating the challenges of life, loss of a job, job seeking, health crisis, low-wages jobs and other unexpected circumstances that place one in an unemployment status is a responsible step for assisting individuals in gaining financial stability. The strength of a nation is seen in the continuous ability to lift its citizens out of poverty, promote equality, and respect for humanity and basic human needs.
Bishop Harry L. Seawright, President of the Council of Bishops and Chair of the Health Commission
Dr. Miriam Burnett, Executive Director, Connectional Health Commission
Dr. Natalie Mitchem, Medical Director, Connectional Health Commission