Food stamp cuts hit home during the holidays

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on December 24, 2013 at 7:57 AM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 24 at 1:40 PM

The holidays are a little harder for families that rely on food stamps. Many had hoped Congress would have been able to restore cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) before the end of the year. But lawmakers adjourned without coming up with a compromise.

SNAP benefits were trimmed last month with debate over the Farm Bill.

The average SNAP benefit will drop from $1.50 per person, per meal to less than $1.40 per person, per meal.

A SNAP family of four will have an average of $432 less a year to spend on food.

"That adds up when you've got a family of three or four and you are running short on milk," said George Butler, a father who frequents the Sky Valley Food Bank in Monroe. "(These benefits) are just an essential thing for your children to have."

Food Banks already report a large increase in the need since cuts went into place. They fear that the demand will grow higher than the rate of donations.

"I think the lawmakers need to come to this environment to see what is really happening in their towns and their cities," said Neil Watkins, Executive Director of the Sky Valley Food Bank.   

Lead negotiators on the farm bill have said they intend to unveil a framework for a compromise bill in early January.

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