SNAP Cuts to affect panhandle needy

SNAP Cuts to affect panhandle needy

More than $6 million in cuts for the Texas panhandle alone
AMARILLO -- Millions of needy Texans will be eating less during the next year.

    $5 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) took effect today.

    These cuts will take about $3.4 million away from SNAP recipients in Potter and Randall counties alone.  That amounts to about 1.4 million fewer meals for those SNAP recipients over the course of the next year.

    With needy Texans searching to replace those lost meals, that means more pressure being put on local food banks.

    These cuts aren't exactly a surprise.  SNAP benefits were temporarily increased in 2009 as part of the economic stimulus package and set to expire November 1, 2013.

    But, it comes at a bad time of the year, especially for food banks.

    Zack Wilson with the High Plains Food Bank says their shelves are already strained and this will only make it worse as people look for help in replacing those lost meals.

    "$6.5 million is estimated that those on the program will lose in benefits for the 29 counties the food bank services.  What that really means is about $36/month for a family of four that they won't see anymore."  Wilson said.

    Wilson says it couldn't come at a worse time.  November is their heaviest distribution month.

    Panhandle congressman Mac Thornberry says renewing the benefits is not necessary.

    He says many of the people receiving SNAP assistance shouldn't qualify anyway.  Thornberry adds, any increase in benefits will have to be added to a new farm bill which is still being debated in Washington.

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