August 31, 2011; Source: Longview News-Journal | A campaign organized by the East Texas Food Bank is pressuring members of the Texas congressional delegation to protect nutrition programs from federal cuts. The campaign follows the release of Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011, a nationwide report produced by Feeding America that included data for the 26 counties served by the Food Bank. According to the report, 27 percent of the children in the Food Bank’s service area—more than 80,000 in all—are currently struggling with hunger.

Started with a letter signed by 518 groups in the Food Bank’s network, the campaign is “likely the largest of its kind in Texas history, drawing signatures from community and faith-based groups across the state,” according to the News-Journal, citing the Amarillo Independent. In its defense of programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps), WIC, and food bank funding, the letter states that local charities “simply cannot fill the gap that will be created if the federal nutrition programs are cut.”—Ruth McCambridge