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Senator Hears from Constituents Likely to Be Impacted by Benefit Cuts

May 2, 2017

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) recently joined a discussion with Philadelphians who depend on federal benefit programs that are threatened by recent policy proposals.

On April 21, 2017, more than 100 Philadelphians gathered at Calvary United Methodist church to share their experiences and concerns about proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, housing subsidies and more.

Panelists shared their personal experiences, voiced their concerns and urged the Senator to support people in similar situations. The event was organized in collaboration with Drexel’s Center for Hunger-Free Communities and other local social service partners including Project HOME and Community Legal Services.

Politicians are playing chess with our lives,” said Tiana Gaines-Turner, a member of Witnesses to Hunger since 2008. “I know firsthand of the struggles - being homeless twice, raising three children with disabilities, running out of food at the end of the month. It's not that I don't have a budget, it's that I don't have a living wage.”

More than 60 percent of people who get SNAP in PA are kids and seniors.

Watch Tiana’s testimony

“Some are trying to decimate Medicaid for seniors, children, and those with disabilities to give tax breaks to the wealthy," said Sen. Casey. The program cuts don't just affect the people that get benefits, he said, "these programs help all of us.”

The Senator took notes the entire event and appeared moved by people's accounts.“The only way we stop these cuts is if we continue to hear your stories and speak out,” he said.

The Center for Hunger-Free Communities plans a follow-up event this summer.

View a compilation of photos and quotes collected via Storify