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Food banks to see more traffic as SNAP funding decreases

Published On: Nov 02 2013 09:23:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Nov 02 2013 09:32:34 PM CDT
Food stamps card

CNN

KINGSPORT, Tenn. -

The changes to the supplemental nutrition assistance program or SNAP went into effect yesterday, leaving those receiving assistance with less money in their accounts.

Now many of those people will head to food banks so they can put food on their tables.

The sign on the food pantry door of Help and Hope Ministries says "Give us this day our daily bread."

But Friday 47 million Americans learned that a portion of their monthly benefits would be cut starting this month.

Christina Hoskins who volunteers at the food bank tells News 5, Saturday morning they saw twice as many people than on average.


"this is the beginning of the month and i think that people are feeling the crunch of inflation, food costs have gone up, i think that their food stamp are being cut a little bit," said Christina Hoskins.

Down the street at the Salvation Army they tell News 5 that they've seen a spike in people coming to them to get meals in past 6 months.

"Like for lunch, last year we only averaged about 94 [people] now it's up to like 140," said Ray Suiter, who works at the Kingsport Salvation Army.

And with the recent government cuts they know the need with increase which will make it more challenging for Suiter the rest of the workers to serve those in need.

The Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee executive director Rhonda Chafin tells News 5, every part of the food assistance chain will feel the effects of these and will struggle to meet the demands.

"It really is kind of a domino effect when their benefits are cut they are going to go the pantry or soup kitchen, the pantry or soup kitchen are going to come here and they are going to really depend on Second Harvest to provide additional food," said Rhonda Chafin.

According to Chafin, Second Harvest serves 40,000 people in Northeast Tennessee and the food stamp cuts could increase the number by several thousand.

Hoskins tells us they will do whatever it takes to help those who are less fortunate.

"We'll have to reach out to the community for a little bit more help, to donate more to use, we take food donations and monetary donations," said Hoskins.

The cuts mean the average person will receive about $1.20 per meal.

The Second Harvest Food Bank believes they will be able to meet the upcoming demands thanks to their recent warehouse expansion.