PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- As Commissioner of Maine's Department of Human Services during the King Administration, Kevin Concannon saw hunger first-hand.
Concannon was in Maine Wednesday in his current role with the US Department of Agriculture, the agency that funds summer lunch programs, among other things. The programs provide a bridge from the time school ends in the early summer until it starts up again in the fall, by providing free or reduced cost lunches to children.
During the school year, federal lunch programs help feed 21-million children across the country. But only three million take part in summer programs. Advocates say many others go hungry, and would like to see summer programs expand. Concannon is among those who would like to see the programs expand.
But budget cuts are looming. SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, has become a focal point in the battle over the nation's budget deficit. The Senate wants to cut the program by 4-billion dollars. A proposal in the House calls for a 16-billion dollar cut.
Scott Moody of the Maine Heritage Policy Center says it's time to look at changing the eligibility requirements for some programs.
"When you're running an unprecedented trillion dollar deficit, we have to start taking a step back as a country and be asking ourselves do we really need to be still doing these things," Moody said.