According to Feeding America, nearly 20 percent of Michiganders and about 12 percent of Ottawa County residents are food insecure. Moreover, the situation may become far worse if Congress adopts proposed cuts in the current safety net. Especially troubling is a House proposal would reduce funding for SNAP (food stamps) by $169 billion over the next ten years.
U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, among others, argues that the proposal is reasonable because churches must play a greater role in caring for hungry people. However, for churches to fill a $17 billion a year funding gap would require an average of $50,000 per church per year.
To better understand the role of area churches in helping hungry people, members of the Holland Bread Team (the Holland chapter of Bread for the World; see HollandBreadTeam.org) conducted an informal survey of some area churches that have a record of outreach to the poor. We asked leaders from more than 20 churches to describe their current efforts to aid hungry people and to respond to the suggestion that they chip in an extra $50,000 for SNAP for each of the next ten years.