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SNAP Benefits Slashed 6-7%

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EUGENE, Ore. — From young mothers to Army veterans, food stamp recipients are scrambling to get meals on the table.

The cuts haven’t even hit yet, and those in the SNAP program are already visiting the local pantry toward the end of the month to help fill in the gaps.

“This food bank here does a lot of vegetables, fruit, good snacks for your kids, a lot of wheat,” said SNAP recipient William Day.

But now with an average family of four is about to see a slash of 6 to 7 percent in their SNAP benefits.

Food stamp benefits will be cut by $5 billion nationwide. The change affecting millions of Americans starts Friday.

The SNAP program received funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act back in 2009 to help people during the recession. The Department of Human Services says those funds have expired. Now food stamp recipients are wondering how they are going to deal with the reduction.

The cuts might mean timelier trips to the food bank for local families.

“Now our business really picks up at the third-fourth week of the month. Since everyone is taking a cut, we anticipate them showing up at our pantries even a week earlier. We’ll know when we know,” said Beverlee Hughes, Food For Lane County Executive Director.

Food For Lane County collects the food that’s distributed to dozens of local pantries. The nonprofit is approaching one of its busiest times–the holidays. And it’s preparing for people to be even hungrier than usual.

“We have less food in the warehouse today than we’ve had in previous years. At least in the last four years the demand’s been high,” Hughes.

So it’s crunch time for the organization, the donors and the recipients, to make more of less, refigure the budget and fill bellies.

“I’d really try to get more educated, better jobs, direct your kids in the right direction so they’re not dealing with this later so they have better jobs and better ways to deal with this as well,” said SNAP recipient Christine Gleason.

Forty-five thousand households in Lane County receive food stamps. That’s just 10 percent of all recipients in the state.

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