SNAP Benefits to be Cut Down Friday

Starting Thursday millions of dollars the 2009 Recovery Act gave to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will be cut off.
Starting Thursday millions of dollars the 2009 Recovery Act gave to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will be cut off. 
This means less money for food stamps which could put some families at risk for food insecurities.
With less money in food stamps the South Plains Food Bank expects they'll be seeing a lot more families in need this holiday season.

"There is a cut that's inevitable.. and that's happening October 31st," said Melissa Henderson with the South Plains Food Bank.

Once that date roles around, families and people who rely on food stamps will notice less money appearing on their lone star cards.   

"And so here at the food bank there's a possibility we will see more people... Unfortunately we are already serving at our max capacity." 

Last month the food bank gave over 350 thousand meals to people in need. And as much as they wish they could help, there's just too many affected by this. 

"In Lubbock 58 percent of those who receive food stamps are elderly or children... And so a lot of people who aren't in that working age gap are going to be affected by the cuts." 

So before SNAP recipients go to the store Friday to stock up on groceries... 
"My concern is that people aren't aware that their funds are going to be cut and they're going to go to the grocery store register run their cards and its just not going to be there."

The average cost per meal is $2.66 When a family of four sees an average of $36 less available. That means they only have $1.40 to spend per meal. 

"There's just no way you can feed your family for a buck 40 for a meal," said Henderson. 

The food bank wants everyone to know if you need assistance please come by and get it. They say they are here for and are more than happy to help.


Feeding your family on a budget is already tough, but for families depending on food stamps it will be even more difficult next month. 

On Friday, November first, Lubbock SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) households are going to be surprised to see fewer funds in their Lone Star Accounts while checking out in supermarket lines. 

The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a stimulus fund designed to help hungry families during the recession, expires October 31 leaving SNAP recipients with fewer dollars to spend.  For a family of three, the cut will be $29 per month, or approximately $10 per person per month. 

The cuts are hitting homes with the holidays just around the corner.  In Lubbock County an estimated 36,000 individuals received SNAP benefits in October. With November’s cuts, SNAP benefits will average less than $1.40 per meal.  That is $1.52 less than Lubbock’s average meal cost of $2.66.  $1.40 per meal is not enough to stave off hunger or nutritionally feed Lubbock’s poor.

The hardship comes as Congress also is debating billions of dollars in cuts to the overall SNAP program. The House of Representatives passed a bill that would eliminate $39 billion dollars from the SNAP budget over 10 years, while the Senate has approved a bill that cuts $4.5 billion dollars.  In addition, House Republicans want to tighten eligibility rules, which will take SNAP away from every Texas family that earns more than $25,000 for a family of three, has countable assets a dollar above $2,000 or has a car worth more than $7,000.  For Lubbock that means 2,000 residents will lose SNAP and will not be able to re-apply as a result.

Proposals in Congress to slash funding for SNAP are short sighted and misinformed.  Cutting the budget on the backs of the poor is harmful and in the end increases hunger for the neediest individuals including children and elderly.

Statistics show that SNAP households are mostly low-income families or are between jobs.  More than half of SNAP households without children have at least one adult working while receiving SNAP benefits.  This rate is even higher for families with children – more than 60 percent work while receiving SNAP benefits.   Their income is simply not enough to fill plates. SNAP is an important support to low-income, working families in an economy where there is job insecurity and income is unpredictable. And the rate of overpayment is extremely low with more than 98% of SNAP benefits being issued to eligible households.

Cuts affect the most vulnerable people in our city.  58% of Lubbock’s SNAP recipients are children and elderly.  Over half of all Texas SNAP recipients are children. If Congress approves the House’s proposed cuts, across the U.S. twenty-two million children and nine million elderly and disabled will likely experience increased food insecurity.

Non-profit organizations are not equipped to address the resulting hunger.  And the cuts would place an extraordinary burden on locally supported hunger programs and the South Plains Food Bank.

David Weaver, CEO of the South Plains Food Bank, says the food bank currently operates at capacity and cannot serve more hungry citizens. “Last year the South Plains Food Bank touched 86,000 individuals across the South Plains.  With the cuts that the House proposes, we are confident that the number of hungry individuals seeking help will increase.  But we already are serving as many as we can.”

Urge Congressman Neugebauer to pass a farm bill “that protects children and vulnerable adults in times of need.”  If Congress truly wants to pass a farm bill for America it should reject radical cuts and allow real negotiations to commence.

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