SNAP cuts could have big impact on midstate food banks

Written by Matt Paul, Reporter/Producer | Sep 27, 2013 1:43 PM
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(Harrisburg) -- Advocates fear deep cuts to the food stamp program proposed by House Republicans in Congress would create a big problem across Pennsylvania.

The proposal that passed the House would cut $40 billion over 10 years from SNAP, the federal program once known as food stamps.

Pennsylvania Hunger Action Center Executive Director Laura Tobin Goddard tells witf's Radio Smart Talk she was dismayed by the vote.

"Basically what it's going to mean for people is that we're going to see hunger, more hunger in Pennsylvania and across the country," she says. "Estimates are that 3.8 million people are going to be cut, if these cuts go through."

Tobin says the cuts would be on top of benefit reductions already slated to go into effect in November, when federal Recovery Act dollars devoted to the program will expire.

The bill's supporters cite an improving national economy, but Tobin says food insecurity remains at 2008 levels.

Feeding Pennsylvania Executive Director Caryn Long adds the state's food banks won't be able to handle the increased demand the cuts would create.

"For Pennsylvania you're looking at more than 121 million lost meals. If you compare that to the total number of meals that our food banks provided last year, that was 112 million," she explains. "You're basically saying that charity is going to have to double what they've done to make up for this, and it's just not possible for charity to absorb that."

The food stamp legislation is not likely to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate and President Obama has vowed a veto.

All seven Republican members of the midstate's Congressional delegation voted in favor of the measure. The lone Democrat, Matt Cartwright, voted against it.

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Comments: 1

  • sburton6 img 2013-11-01 07:22

    Never in my adult life have I needed food stamps, until this summer. My husband was laid off last October, and our family is still struggling (despite him finding a new job, at a $10,000 paycut... it was the only thing available)I have even gone back to work after 2 years as a stay at home mom. We have two small children and now HEAVILY rely on WIC and SNAP. We made it work with just WIC and food banks until this summer. We finally applied, we have had benefits for 2 months at $140 a month, and this month we are going to receive $100, and that is to be our expected allowance until they decide to change it again. My husband and I have been working since we were teenagers, I since age 14 and he since age 16. We have never needed assistance before this past year. We are desperately trying to get back on our feet and it is harder and harder. It is shameful, and we are not asking for handouts, but honestly, $100 a month for a family of four is just barely scratching the surface. With WIC, and food banks we will find a way to make it work. We always do. I worry how this new life of ours is going to affect our children. If anyone has read all the stories about just how much poverty impacts children. We are doing our best. I suppose I shouldn't complain, it is $100 that we can put towards the growing electric/heating bill. It just frustrates me that we are working harder then ever, and we are poorer then we have been since college! At least when we were in college we didn't have two children to feed and we could live off of scraps for a week! Don't even get me started about how our new income is NOT paying off our school loans either (both useless at this point I MIGHT ADD)

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