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Vicki B. Escarra

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Fasting for Hunger

Posted: 04/ 7/11 07:14 PM ET

There is a palpable sense of concern spreading around the country as our leaders contemplate significant cuts to vital programs. Feeding America member food banks are watching closely to see whether Congress' decision will affect safety-net programs and are urging their elected officials to protect the programs that protect hungry Americans.

Staff at Feeding America food banks tell me how critical these programs are to their communities and express their concerns about the impact these reductions would have. Hear comparable sentiments for yourself in the videos from Sarah, a young woman whose mother relies on SNAP assistance, and Joseph, an underemployed man who receives assistance from a local food pantry.

In protest against proposed budget cuts to safety-net programs, Bill Shore, of Share Our Strength and I joined a fast with Ambassador Tony Hall at the Alliance to End Hunger, David Beckmann of Bread for the World, and other anti-hunger leaders on Wednesday. Many Feeding America staff, member food banks and supporters also fasted to raise awareness about the impact these cuts would have on the people we serve.

We all know that, in these trying times, something has to give and tough decisions need to be made. But those who fasted, and will be fasting throughout April, are asking Congress not to balance the budget at the expense of our country's most vulnerable -- the impoverished, our children and our seniors.

Proposed budget cuts would affect many safety-net programs that help Americans in need. As our nation struggles to recover from the recession, it funding must be preserved for SNAP, TEFAP, WIC, LIHEAP and other critical assistance programs. These programs are instrumental in giving low-income Americans hope as they try to work to get back on their feet. Without these programs,our problem of hunger would be much greater.

I urge you to pledge to fast at any time during the month of April to let our nation's leaders know hunger is a pressing issue that concerns you and should be at the forefront of their minds as they make decisions about the budget.

Make sure Congress knows you want them to protect people in need.