Food stamp cuts cause ripple effect of problems

November 3rd, 2013

Aired on WLBT/FOX 40 on November 3, 2013

Two million pounds of food are shipped out to food banks from the Mississippi Food Network’s warehouse every month. That number could rise because of the food stamp cuts.

“We’re going to need to raise more money, do more food drives, get more corporate sponsors involved,” said Marilyn Blackledge, MFN’s Director of External Affairs.

For a family of three, they would now receive $29 dollars less every month. The Mississippi Food Network says that’s going to stretch most more than they can handle.

“What we found out when we did our hunger study was that most people said that their benefits lasted 2-3 weeks,” explained Blackledge.

The Food Network will try to fill in the gaps of needy families dealing with a shrunken budget. Stretching every dollar will be more important than before.

A lot of the people that are getting food are on benefits because they work but just don’t make enough money to get by every month.

The Mississippi Economic Policy Center says the cuts will go deeper than just those households.

“If you think about it in terms of a family. A family who receives SNAP assistance, they go into a grocery store or they spend all of that money locally, that in turn supports jobs at that store,” said MEPC Executive Director Ed Sivak.

Sivak explains that for every $1.00 of snap benefits that’s spent, the state generates $1.70 in economic activity.

“This cut is actually going to mean there’s 70 million less available in the state, statewide for SNAP assistance,” Sivak described.

Because they knew the cuts were on the way, food banks statewide have already started preparing.

“Anytime something like this happens, we see the need increase dramatically for us,” Marilyn Blackledge at the Mississippi Food Network added.

Congress is still discussing further cuts to the snap program. The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would cut $40 billion dollars more. Here in Mississippi, they say that could impact at least 52,000 people.

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