|November 1, 2013
Volunteers working for food banks are “panicking” over the demand they are likely to face later this month from Americans on food stamps who have seen their benefits slashed.
As president of the Food Bank for New York City, Margaret Purvis expects those cuts will draw even more people to organizations that already provide 400,000 meals a day to hungry city folks.
"Our members are panicking," she said as time wound down before the benefit decreases go into effect. "We're telling everyone to make sure that you are prepared for longer lines."
Needy Americans who receive food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are expected to suffer an average loss of $36 a month from a $275.13 per household benefit. There are a near-record 47.6 million Americans, representing 23.1 million households, on the program. The cost of the program will hit $63.4 billion in 2013.
SNAP allocations built into President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill are coming to an end, leading to the cuts. Over the past few years, a bipartisan group of Democrats and Republicans have voted in favor of the cuts in exchange for increased education funding and school nutrition programs.
Benefit cuts to food stamp recipients kick in Friday, a move by Congress that will siphon $5 billion off a program that helps one in seven Americans put breakfast, lunch and dinner on the table.