Our Nation’s “Hunger Cliff”
More than 47 million Americans who benefit from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly referred to as food stamps, recently experienced sharp reductions in their monthly assistance. The automatic cuts will decrease food stamp spending by $5 billion in the 2014 fiscal year, leaving many people struggling to get by, especially at the end of each month.
With the start of November marking what food activists have termed the “Hunger Cliff,” we at The PBEye have been thinking about pro bono efforts designed to fight hunger and increase the availability of nutritious and affordable food. Pro bono work to support food access and security has the potential to transform a community and there has never been a greater need, with the number of Americans dependent on food assistance increasing 77 percent since 2007.
As we’ve reported previously, pro bono efforts that work to end hunger and increase access to nutritious food, such as breaking through bureaucratic barriers to food stamp distribution and turning abandoned lots into productive urban farms, are likely to enjoy broad institutional support. Because this is an issue that many people feel particularly passionate about – especially now that spending cuts have intensified the nation’s hunger crisis – you may be able to excite and engage many attorneys and professional staff in these efforts.
As we continue to pay greater attention to food access, those pursuing pro bono work in this field have the chance to be at the forefront and make a difference. The Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s publication Pro Bono Food for Thought: Improving Access to Nutrition highlights the pro bono work of Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® Signatories aimed at fighting hunger and promoting the availability of healthy food. You may download the publication, which is free for Member Firms and available to others for purchase, by visiting our Resource Clearinghouse.
Are you engaged in a pro bono project that expands access to nutritious food in low-income communities, either at home or abroad? Leave us a comment and let us know!