Food banks feeling the pinch of SNAP reductions

Written by Matt Paul and Radio Pennsylvania | Dec 23, 2013 4:44 AM
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(Harrisburg) -- Reduced food stamp benefits mean increased demand at midstate food pantries this holiday season.

Federal stimulus funding, which had been boosting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - or SNAP - expired November first.

Since then, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank spokesman Brad Peterson says it's noticed a 10 to 20 percent increase in demand across their 27-county service area.

He says the focus is now on monthly - as opposed to emergency - assistance. “It’s a lot of people who are working poor, a lot of working families and especially a lot of seniors, who don’t get any kind of raise with their Social Security," he says, "and the cost of living keeps increasing and they’re really struggling to make ends meet.”

Peterson points out the need will still be strong after the holidays are over. This fall’s across-the-board five percent reductions in SNAP benefits impacted about 1.8-million Pennsylvanians.

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