WUFT News

Cuts In Food Stamp Benefits May Put Pressure On Food Banks

By and on October 25th, 2013

About 3.6 million Floridians who have become accustomed to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will have to adapt come Nov. 1.

At the start of November, food stamp benefits provided by SNAP will be cut due to the expiration of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ website.

Factors that impact the amount of SNAP benefits a household can receive includes income level, the size of the household and family expenses.

The average family of four with no income will be receiving $36 less in its monthly benefits, Florida Department of Children and Families officials said.

“I love my food stamps, but that’s the only source I’m using right now,” Jamillia Payne, a food stamp user, said.

When food stamp benefits are reduced, she said she may have to rely on food banks.

Food banks are responsible for stocking up food pantries and other charitable feeding programs, such as soup kitchens, homeless shelters and church pantries.

Rebecca Brislain, executive director of the Florida Association of Food Banks, said SNAP is a critical safety net program for working and low-income families.

The FAFB’s network is bracing for increased need related to the drop in SNAP benefits, she said.

“When SNAP benefits have decreased the demands on food banks increase,” said Michael Demers, development coordinator at Bread of the Mighty Food Bank in Gainesville. “It’s got to come from somewhere.”

Demers said he has already seen an increase in need within the last month or two because of the impending decrease.

“Our food pantries have had to come in twice a month rather than once a month to be able to pick up enough food to feed people,” he said.

Demers is counting on community support to help offset the effects of the benefit cut. While the government provides some assistance, most of its resources come from donations by local churches, community groups or individuals.

“Once the cuts come down in November, there’ll be an influx of donations that come in from the community themselves, which is going to help through the season if people are as generous as we anticipate them to be,” Demers said. “After the season is done, the need will still be there and hopefully the community will continue to be generous.”

He stressed while SNAP benefits were initially increased in response to the recession, need has not waned since then.

“The need is still there because the problems that brought us to the economic situation are still there,” he said. “We still need jobs. We still need places for people to live. The cost of living is increased, so (the benefit cut) will still have a big effect.”

He said programs like SNAP only treat symptoms of the larger problems of hunger and poverty. Until a long-term solution is found for those problems, feeding programs and similar resources can only do so much.

“Putting a couple of bags of food in front of a family doesn’t solve the problems that they’re dealing with,” Demers said. “It just gets them through the day. We need to do more.”


This entry was posted in Florida and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Florida

Supreme Court Decision Reopens Juvenile Sentences

Florida inmates serving life sentences for crimes they committed as juveniles should be resentenced under guidelines that went into effect last year, the Florida Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday.


Boy, 9, Dies In Ocala National Forest House Fire

A 9-year-old boy died after a fire broke out at his mobile home in the Ocala National Forest. Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire.


Ferris strawberries straight from the farm are sold in clamshells at Ferris Groves in Floral City, Florida from mid-October to April. The store also offers syrups, sauces, jams and jellies, as well as samples of fresh-squeezed orange juice. Garrett J. Mastronardi / WUFT News

Ferris Farms Uses New, Successful System of Growing Strawberries

A Floral City strawberry farm finds success in the Strawberry Advisory System. The system, created by UF strawberry pathologist Natalia Peres, sends alerts to farmers when their crops are at risk for infection.


While swamps filled up early Thursday with gallons and gallons of rainwater, the flooding was largely contained in the Big Bend region compared to the deluge from Tropical Storm Debby in 2012.

Group Wants Probe of Whether Fla. Banned Climate-Change Talk

Former state employees claim supervisors forbade them from using the term “climate change.” A Florida environmental group is requesting an investigation.


A ribbon cutting took place at the ceremonial signing of development contracts between the city of New Port Richey, Florida and developers Yaakov Rosner and Abraham Rosner of Florida Motel Inc. on Feb. 10 at the Hacienda Hotel in New Port Richey, Florida. Pictured left to right is Mario Iezzoni, Chopper Davis, Bill Phillips, Judy DeBella Thomas, Yaakov Rosner, Abraham Rosner, Rob Marlowe, Debbie Manns, Madison Starkey, Jeff Starkey and Dylan Starkey. Photo courtesy of Gary Gann.

State Funds Used To Restore Historic Florida Hotel

Restoration efforts have begun on the historic Hacienda Hotel in New Port Richey, Florida. Once finished, the boutique hotel will feature 31 guest rooms, multiple banquet rooms and a possible restaurant.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments