The giant food stamps cut expected to move billions of dollars in nutritional assistance away from America’s poorest families will hit today, and nearly 50 million Americans are expected to be on the receiving end of the SNAP slap — many of whom are children living in poverty.
As food stamps are set to be reduced in both total aid given and number of recipients today, food pantries across America brace for a giant spike in need among the food insecure.
In Illinois, two million people are expected to be affected by the food stamps cut, and Department of Human Services spokeswoman Januari Smith said of the change to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and what kind of impact we may see:
“It seems like a small decrease, but it will have an impact on those who depend on it… People will have to make tough decisions, including choosing between necessary medicines and putting food on the table.”
Non-profit anti-hunger groups are preparing for an influx of people in need of assistance, and Food Research and Action Center legal director Ellen Vollinger worries that the spread out cuts to SNAP will be felt in ways that are magnified painfully:
“People are living at the margins… It’s not an abstract metric for people. It’s actual dollars to keep food in the refrigerator.”
In Brooklyn, working single mom Amira Watson says that the SNAP cuts will further plummet her small family into poverty. Watson explains that the one-two punch of a divorce and job loss after her maternity leave have left her with just one job of her previous two jobs to feed her four children.
Watson says that as her supplemental assistance hangs in the balance, local charities have bridged the gap for her small family:
“Thank God for the food pantry and the Campaign Against Hunger… While I’m waiting for all this processing — glitches here and glitches there — thank God I could go there and shop for some food. I got some baby milk for my newborn, got rice, got a nice amount of stuff that will sustain us until something comes up.”
Food stamps help a little, but Watson says that she is constantly trying to keep up with the bills to keep her four kids sheltered and fed. She explains:
“The job is good with medical benefits but not with the paycheck… I’m always in the hole with bills. If I pay the rent I’m sacrificing the light, if I pay the light bill I’m sacrificing the gas bill. It’s always something.”
In New York alone, more than one million elderly residents are expected to see food stamps cut due to the new measure.