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Food Pantries Keeping Eye on Effects of Food Stamp Cuts

Several Owensboro food pantries say they expect an increase in demand following billions of dollars in SNAP program cuts.
Starting Friday, thousands of Tri-Staters will get a little less help paying for groceries. That's because $5 billion will be cut from the food stamp program. So, how will this impact local food pantries?

In food pantries, like in business, there's supply and demand.

"The month of August, we gave out enough groceries for 12,000 meals," says Jennifer Tucker of the Help Office of Owensboro. Keeping supplies up can be challenging.

"It's constantly on our mind, what is left after we have administered to the people that day, after we've helped them, what do we have left that we can help tomorrow," she says.

It could get more challenging for pantries if demand goes up.

"I wonder if we'll see more need, if we'll see more people who don't have as much food dollars as they had before," says Tucker.

Several Owensboro food pantry managers say they expect a bigger demand for their food because of $5 billion in cuts in food stamp funding reductions. That money was first put in place in the 2009 recovery act. In Kentucky, a family of four could lose as much as $36 a month.

"To some people, it might not be a lot, but to someone on a budget, it might be crucial," says Deanne Jones of the Salvation Army.

"I think we have developed somewhat of a recovery that's, even though slow, most of the people that needed the extra help temporarily don't need it anymore," says Rep. Larry Bucshon, (R)-Indiana. But Tucker says if a family's money supply is low, they won't be able to meet other demands for items like toilet paper and toothpaste.

"If they have to use more dollars in their budget to go towards food, then I can see where it can put a strain on other things in the budget," she adds.

Food stamp funding is also expected to be a major factor in the latest round of farm bill negotiations.
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