INDICE DE GALERIAS
ROCHESTER, Minn. - It is the first day of a new month and while that might not be too significant for most, it is if you are part of a national food assistance program.
The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) helps families living at the poverty level pay for their meals each day. The nearly 47 million Americans who are part of it will see less help come their way.
“It's going to be a decrease for everyone, so we'll all have to try to get by with a little bit less, but it was a benefit at the time it was issued, it was an increase, so we just had that special funding,” said Beth Arendt, Financial Assistant Supervisor for Olmsted County Family Support and Assistance.
She said there are 13,000 people in the county who use these benefits.
“It's clearly a reduction in benefits for them. A household of one for example is losing eleven dollars if they're receiving the maximum level of food stamps they'd be eligible for,” Arendt said.
The cuts are expected to cost a family of three $29 a month in support. That will total $5 billion dollars in cuts nationwide for the 2014 fiscal year.
“It is going to seem like a chunk of money is gone out of there. So we would probably anticipate some more use of some of our food shelves or lunch tables,” Arendt said.
Those at the Salvation Army in Rochester do both of those things. They say many people on the SNAP program may already use the other services.
“It may not result in an increase in the number of people we serve, but they may be looking for additional food items or other assistance,” said Dave Ferber with the Rochester Salvation Army.
The change could mean more people coming through the doors to take food off of their shelves, but it may be too soon to tell.
“Maybe they've only come here twice a week for a meal, maybe they'll come here three or four times a week now,” Ferber said.
He said that their lunch and dinner programs have been the busiest they have ever seen over the last year.
Meanwhile, the number of people on the SNAP program has doubled over the last ten years.
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