In 2012, FISH Food Banks of Pierce County served 556,298 individuals, or 140,414 families in Pierce County that faced significant financial hardships, an increase of 24 percent in just one year.
Washington State Food Assistance is vitally important to meeting this growing need. For more than 15 years, Washington has wisely and strategically leveraged national resources to ensure that food stamps reach families that need it most.
However, during the recession, State Food Assistance was slashed for thousands of children growing up in immigrant families, nearly all of whom are children of color. At a time when an estimated one in four Washington children live in food-insecure households, the cut to State Food Assistance deepens racial and economic equality by targeting innocent children.
Children make up half of the state residents in households receiving State Food Assistance. Many other recipients are seniors. Singling out immigrant children and elders to suffer in already arduous times is a cruelty unbefitting of Washington state.
At FISH Food Banks of Pierce County, we see the impacts of this cut daily. Families are unable to obtain basic essentials. For them, every dollar or can of food truly makes a difference.
We are urging legislators to restore the health of our communities by reinstating the integrity of food security systems and State Food Assistance. It is the only option for thousands of children and families in Washington state.
(Elliott is executive director of the FISH Food Banks of Pierce County.)