Food Bank worried about looming cuts

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by Pat Dooris, KGW Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on October 11, 2013 at 6:23 PM

Updated Saturday, Oct 12 at 10:20 AM

PORTLAND -- Workers battling hunger worry about a change in food stamp payments set to take effect Nov. 1.

It will reduce payments from $1.50 per meal to $1.40, according to Jeff Kleen from the Oregon Food Bank. It was boosted earlier to offset effects of the recession but now is being reduced.

The monthly reduction will total $36 for a family of four, which is a significant impact.

“That may mean more parents skipping meals so their kids can eat,” said Kleen. “It can mean seniors going without. It simply means more hungry Oregonians."

Nina Sanchez is a single mom in Southeast Portland who is not on food stamps but does depend on an occasional box of food from the St. Vincent DePaul food pantry. She works two part-time jobs and struggles to make ends meet.

“I think it is very scary because we do not make a lot. We do not make enough money to afford it," she said.

With the cut coming in food stamp payments, nearly everyone expects more demand on free food pantries. Those pantries will ask for even more food from their supplier, the Oregon Food Bank.

Jeff Kleen said it will be difficult for everyone. He said the food bank is already running near maximum and may not be able to gather and ship out more food than last year.

“We have distributed a record amount of food over the last year, 86.3 million pounds of food,” said Kleen. “And knowing that donors are extremely generous but they too have limited means makes us very concerned."

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