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It’s the holiday season and as Grameen America borrowers struggle to provide their loved ones with gifts they have another pressing problem facing them: the price of food.  

“Meanwhile, in the real world, a family of four is heading into the “pain point” of the month where they will have $36 less for groceries on their electronic SNAP card, says Nancy Roman, president and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank. “We don’t want to see SNAP cut,” she says. “People at the bottom of the pyramid don’t have enough to eat, and we do need to be subsidizing food.” Roman says she hopes that once lawmakers get past the current impasse they will address what she calls “urban hunger,” where obesity and malnutrition exist side by side and incentives are needed for people to make healthier food choices.

For now, though, as lawmakers sift through the numbers and the partisan disagreements, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has taken matters into his own hands to announce $4.5 million in emergency food assistance grants to help food banks, churches, and charities cope with the spike in need prompted by the reduction in SNAP benefits. For those on the front lines working with people in need, the notion that more cuts could be coming seems incomprehensible. “It’s outrageous they’re still considering $4 to $8 to $10 billion cuts in the conference committee,” says Weill. “That will create real hardship.” And more cuts could create real political problems for Republicans if they head home for the holidays without passing a farm bill, or worse, pass one that worsens the food insecurity of millions.”

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