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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