D.C. Seniors to Continue to Receive Critical Food Through Commodity Supplemental Food Program
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Westra Miller, Staff Attorney

Late last week, Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced that the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), an important program providing food to low-income D.C. seniors, would be extended through the end of 2011.  Advocates, such as Legal Aid, had been concerned that the program would end with the close of the fiscal year on September 30, leaving thousands of seniors without essential food such as juice, cereal, rice, dry beans, or canned goods.  Approximately 6,647 seniors who have a gross income below 130% of the federal poverty level receive a bag of $58 worth of groceries each month through CSFP.  They will continue to receive these critical items with no break in service due to the Mayor’s recent commitment to extending CFSP.  Given the very real economic pressures facing many District residents—and especially seniors on fixed incomes—the extension of a program such as CSFP comes at a critical time.  However, the extension is also a reminder of the precarious fates of many locally- and federally-funded benefits programs in this season of budget-cutting.  While Legal Aid is pleased that many of our clients and community members can continue to rely on the food provided through CFSP through the end of the year, we and other advocates will not stop our ongoing work to ensure that any upcoming budget cuts or programmatic reductions are fair to all D.C. residents.

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