Kids in Battle Creek protesting food program cuts

BATTLE CREEK, MICH. - A group of Battle Creek kids had some first-hand experience in standing up for their beliefs Wednesday.

A group of students from the local branch of the Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools marched to downtown Battle Creek to protest potential cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The group stopped at the Battle Creek Police Department and planted signs and banners. They turned to the traffic on Division Street and chanted, "no hungry child!"

Freedom Schools teacher Ramal Wilson said the action started as a discussion about violent versus nonviolent protesting.

"For the children, they needed to understand that they can instill and spark peaceful protest at their young age, to where they can really do this later on," Wilson said.

SNAP, sometimes referred to as food stamps, is a federally funded program that provides eligible people with financial benefits to purchase healthy food.

According to data gathered by The Coordinating Council of Calhoun County, from 2010 to 2014 about half of all SNAP households in the county had children younger than 18 living there.

 

The Food Bank of South Central Michigan reported that in Calhoun County, they gave out more than 1.6 million pounds of food in 2015 and over 1.9 million pounds in 2016.

Wilson said the kids have been thinking about hungry people after the class discussion.

"They were ready to come out here and do this," Wilson said.

Another teacher, Edward Harris, said cuts to SNAP proposed by President Donald Trump need to be fought.

In May, Trump's administration released a budget that called for $190 billion in cuts to SNAP over the next 10 years.

According to a USA Today report, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said the cuts were intended to get able-bodied adults working and encourage states to share the cost of feeding people.

"The SNAP program helps the most vulnerable in our communities, those being the children at or below the poverty line, the disabled and the elderly," Harris said. "If what makes America great again is an all-out assault on the poor, the elderly and the disabled, then maybe you need to rethink what that really means."

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© 2017 Battle Creek Enquirer


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