Reductions in Food Stamps begin, more cuts looming - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

WACO

Reductions in Food Stamps begin, more cuts looming

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WACO -

Thousands of Central Texans who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program known as SNAP Benefits will be receive less money for food starting Nov. 1.

Everyone who receives snap benefits including families, seniors and soldiers will be affected.

According to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission more than 41,000 people receive benefits in Bell County and nearly 36,000 in McLennan County will collect about $20 less starting this month, with more cuts coming in the future.

"We're going to see a lot of people who are already questioning and having doubts about how $20 will amount for them to make it through the last week when some of the months are five weeks long," said Morales.

As part of the federal stimulus package in 2009, people on food stamps were given extra money. Friday, that bill has expired reducing the amount of money recipients have been getting for the last four years.

For a family of four, it comes out to about $36 less a month.

SNAP Outreach Director Esther Morales says any reduction is significant. 

"That's pretty much a 10 pound roll of hamburger meet, you're looking at a 5 pound bag of potatoes, you're looking at 2 or 3 loafs of bread, a gallon of milk, some vegetables, lettuce, tomatoes, that could stretch you a week," says Morales. 

Local food pantries are anticipating more people and prepping to meet the demand because of the cutbacks.

Bags of food fill baskets in the caritas pantry but each basket represents an order for one family but they can only fill it once a month. Now with cuts to the snap benefit program families may have to visit more than one food pantry to meet their needs."

The Director of Caritas Waco Buddy Edwards says food pantries are used to fill the gap between benefits people receive and the amount of money they actually need.

"If it comes to the point where we just have more folks arriving in here, we'll just have to look at how we can best utilize and spread out the food that we have available to meet that need as best we can," said Edwards. 

Right now there are five farm bills in the house and senate and negotiations on exactly how much will be cut, in addition to the reduction that started today are ongoing.

To find out how many people are on food stamps in your area click here.

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