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Loaves and Fishes asks community for help after budget cuts to food assistance programs

Loaves and Fishes in Kalamazoo is asking the community to join them in the fight to keep these programs afloat.

President Trump's proposed 2018 budget calls for potentially catastrophic cuts to food assistance programs, leaving millions of Americans wondering how they will feed their families.

Loaves and Fishes in Kalamazoo is asking the community to join them in the fight to keep these programs afloat.

Meg Gernaat of Loaves and Fishes is gearing up for what she hopes will be a busy week.

The organization is holding a Hear Us on Hunger event Tuesday through Thursday to save federal food assistance programs.

“We're really trying to get ahead of this as much as we can, in case something is to happen and those programs do receive major cuts to their funding,” Gernaat said.

Benefits like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) help more than 40 million Americans. President Trump's budget calls for $139 billion dollars in cuts.

Gernaat is asking the community to come and not only educate themselves, but also to reach out to Congress to inspire change.

Everything they need to contact House Representatives will be in one place.

“They can look over budget information,” Gernaat said. “We have sample letters if they're not sure how to construct a letter. They can make phone calls; we have the phone numbers they need.”

In Kalamazoo, the community has already been rallying to save food assistance, and SNAP benefits like "double up food bucks" were expanded to three grocery stores.

Gernaat said if cuts are made, Loaves and Fishes will see a huge demand for services.

She believes it will not only leave families and children hungry but will hurt the entire economy.

“Budget cuts like this don't just affect the people who are utilizing these programs, it affects everybody from the growers who produce everybody's food to our local businesses,” Gernaat said.

Hear Us on Hunger is held Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Loaves and Fishes community room on Portage Street.

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