Cuts to SNAP Coming Friday

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Updated: Tue, 29 Oct 2013 06:49:22 EST

"If they cut the food stamps it's gonna be a little harder," said Larry Jackson, as he mopped the floor of Loaves and Fishes Ministry in downtown Macon.

Once the food pantry closes for the day, Jackson sticks around. He volunteers his time there, a place that he says helps him to make ends meet.

"Without the few things I get here, it would be a little hard to make it, you know," he said.

Jackson is one of nearly 2 million Georgians receiving SNAP benefits. He says he tries to limit his spending to $35 a week.

"That in itself is just getting meat products," said Jackson.

He'll soon have to conserve more. The federal government will reportedly cut SNAP's budget by $5 billion beginning Friday. A family of four would lose about $36 a month, roughly two to three days worth of food. 

Those families will begin looking to food pantries like Loaves and Fishes to fill their nutritional shortfall. Loaves and Fishes depends on the stock of the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank to provide food to it's clients.

"The agencies that utilizes our services to get food to the families will wind up seeing increases from somewhere between 10 to 15 percent," said Ronald Raleigh, Executive Director of the MGCFB.

The Middle Georgia Community Food Bank works with over 200 agencies across central Georgia. Raleigh says food intake has increased 15 to 20 percent annually over the past five years, but due to the recession, job losses and natural disasters, the bank just barely breaks even.

"Because of those things what we have been able to increase in incoming goes out. we don't have a stock pile of food to meet a new demand," said Raleigh.

To brace for the post cut rush, Raleigh says the food bank will beat the bushes and get back to the basics by promoting food drives, while getting a little help itself.

"The federal government through the USDA is shipping food in at this point," said Raleigh.

Meanwhile, Jackson says his biggest concern is for the many he sees during his time volunteering, who unlike him have more mouths to feed.

"That's just going to really hit them real hard," said Jackson. "You have a lot of women on fixed income with kids. They're not going to be able to feed their kids."

SNAP costs the government about $80 billion per year and provides food to 14 percent of all U.S. households. House Republicans say the food stamp budget should be cut by as much as $39 billion.

President Obama says he will veto cuts to SNAP that are too drastic.

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