SNAP: A Lifeline for Hungry Mainers

October 04, 2017

Maine Equal Justice Partners (MEJP) and Preble Street today released the results of new research about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

While the nation makes progress reducing hunger, Maine is losing ground compared to other states. SNAP is Maine’s first and most important line of defense in helping hungry Mainers get enough to eat.

  • 63% of Maine SNAP participants are in households with children
  • 43% contain household members who are elderly or have a disability
  • 41% are working households

To better understand the role that SNAP plays in Mainers’ lives, MEJP and Preble Street partnered with agencies and community groups to survey families around the state. The study finds:

  • SNAP helps most, but not all, respondents get enough to eat
  • SNAP reduces stress, but does not eliminate financial strain on families
  • SNAP participants have to make difficult choices when they run short of food
  • Without SNAP, most participants have nowhere else to turn for help
  • Rural Mainers face particular challenges to accessing food

Because Maine has made policy choices to reduce access to SNAP, Mainers struggle to get the food they need. When Mainers struggle to get the food they need, kids fall behind in school and fall behind on brain development; working households choose between eating or keeping the lights on; older Mainers become ill; Veterans are unable to get their health needs met; people with disabilities live in fear of starvation; and parents skip meals to feed families. SNAP is a lifeline. SNAP is a vaccine.

Many Maine families have nowhere to turn when food runs short. Reducing access to SNAP will produce nothing short of a statewide emergency.

Click here to view the executive summary.

Click here to view the full report.