Coalition Letter to Chairman Tom Harkin Expressing Support for Nutrition

May 6, 2002

Honorable Tom Harkin
Chairman, Senate Agriculture Committee
Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Harkin:

We, the undersigned groups, are writing to express our support for the nutrition title of the Conference Report on the Farm Bill (H.R. 2646). The final package makes very important investments to strengthen the nutrition safety net, especially for vulnerable working families with children, needy legal immigrants, and others struggling to put food on the table.

As you know, USDA and the Census Bureau report that approximately 33 million people in the United States-13 million of them children-have been living with hunger or on the edge of hunger. The recent economic slowdown and increasing need are only exacerbating this problem of high levels of hunger and food insecurity, particularly for legal immigrants and other low-wage workers. Substantially strengthening the national nutrition safety net is critically important to address this problem.

Accordingly, we believe the Conference Report makes critical steps forward for some of the populations most in need of help: legal immigrants; and working parents with children. Additional provisions that will substantially simplify the program are also critically important. Easing states' administrative burdens will reduce their costs, reduce errors, reduce red tape for needy people, and speed eligibility determinations and benefits delivery. This lowering of unnecessary obstacles is particularly important for working families.

We also applaud your additional funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program. Food banks, food shelves and food pantries facing growing requests will be better able to meet the need.

Given the scope of the hunger and food insecurity problem facing our nation's people, we believe that passage of the Farm Bill Conference Report with its investments in the nutrition safety net must be a very high priority for the Senate.

Again, we appreciate your leadership on our mutual goal to fight hunger.

Sincerely yours,

Alliance for Children and Families
America's Second Harvest
American Jewish Committee
Americans for Democratic Action
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
American Friends Service Committee
American Public Human Services Association
American School Food Service Association
Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum
Asian Pacific American Legal Center
Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs
Bread for the World
California Immigrant Welfare Collaborative
Center for Community Change
Center for Public Policy Priorities, TX
Center For Third World Organizing
Children's Defense Fund
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles
Coalition on Human Needs
Congressional Hunger Center
Episcopal Church, USA
Food Research and Action Center
Friends Committee on National Legislation
The General Board of Church and Society, The United Methodist Church
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness
Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition
MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
Migrant Legal Action Project
National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium
National Association of Child Advocates
National Association of Service and Conservation Corps
National Campaign for Jobs and Income Support
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council La Raza
National Immigration Law Center
National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
National Puerto Rican Coalition
New Jersey Immigration Policy Network
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
New York Immigration Coalition
NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund
San Bernardino County, CA
Service Employees International Union
Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network
Share our Strength
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries
United Food and Commercial Workers International Union
Volunteers of America
Welfare Law Center
Women Employed

Prepared by the Food Research and Action Center, 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW, #540, Washington, DC 20009, (202) 986-2200 (ph); (202) 986-2525 (fax);