Food Stamp Cuts Affects Thousands - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Food Stamp Cuts Affects Thousands

Posted: Updated:

By: Claire Powell
cpowell@myabc5.com
@clairenpowell

 

A reduction in food stamp benefits will have a major impact on the nation and Iowans who rely on them each month.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, most commonly known as the food stamp program, helps 48 million Americans and 400,000 Iowans. Starting Friday, November 1, their benefits will be reduced by 5.4 percent. 

A family of two could see an $11 decrease every month, while a family of six could see a $50 decrease.

Further cuts to the SNAP program will likely be seen once the Farm Bill is passed by lawmakers in Washington, D.C. The Republican-led House passed their bill that would trim the program by $39 million over a decade. However, the Senate passed a much different bill, only a $4.5 billion over a decade.

"There's never a good time for families to learn that they're benefits might be decreasing. We want them to plan accordingly, we want them to check their benefits, know what their balance is and make their meal plans from there," said Amy Lorentsen McCoy, Iowa Department of Health Services.

Now food pantries are trying to prepare for the potential flood of families looking for help.

"They're really nervous they're trying to feed their kids. Families are already struggling and the struggle will be even greater with that reduction in benefits and they'll need more assistance in coming months," said Shawna Beron, Johnston Partnership.

Last year, the Iowa Food Bank gave 9 million pounds of food to families.

The Johnston Partnership food pantry helped 120 families in October, an increase of 20 families from September. Between the increased need in the community and reduction in benefits, the partnership said they're starting to save now.

"We've begun, not stock piling, but purchasing additional products that fit inside our food box parameters as far as healthy food goes to try and offset some of the increase that we will see in client need," said Beron.

For more information on the Johnston Partnership and they're pantry visit, www.johnstonpartnership.org

 

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