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Food stamp benefits cut

Food stamp benefits cut

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Food stamp benefits will be lower for more than 47 million Americans as of Friday because a temporary boost to the federal program has ended.

For a family of four, the change means they'll get about $36 less each month. That may not seem like much, but Ohio Association of Food Banks Executive Director Lisa Hamler-Fugitt says many families who depend on the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program, or SNAP, can't afford any cut.

"This is going to force them to our food lines more frequently to try to replace these lost benefits," she said.

One out of every seven people in America use SNAP.

Ohio's 12 food banks and 3,300 emergency food providers distributed $223 million in food statewide in 2012. She says the change means they'll need to come up with an additional $193 million.

"There is no magic bullet. There is no donor that's going to step in and provide an additional $!93 million worth of food to replace these lost food stamp benefits," she said.

Food banks are already in high-demand which Hamler-Fugitt says will force them to do what low-income people already do - cut back.

"We're going to be lightening the bag in the box. We're going to be rationing what food we have. We're going to be using different coping strategies to try to stretch that food and when the food is gone the doors will close," she said.

More cuts to the program could be coming as Congress debates a new five-year Farm Bill. A House version cuts $39 billion over the next decade while the Senate version trims the program by $4 billion.

While there is bi-partisan support for hunger assistance at the state-level, Hamler-Fugitt doesn't get the same feeling from Washington.

"The hard-heartedness and the mean-spiritness in Congress right now, I've never seen anything like it."

 

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