Plates Less Full: The Impact of SNAP Cuts in Pennsylvania
Starting today, 1.8 million Pennsylvanians who rely on food stamps will have to do more with less.
Cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will affect 47 million families nationwide.
Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, says it's a big hit for families earning well below the poverty line.
"Benefits are going to go down by $29 a month for a household of three," he says. More than $300 a year, which is huge if you're living on $8-10-12-14,000 a year."
Of those affected by the cuts in Pennsylvania, 766,000 are children, and nearly a half-million are seniors or people with disabilities.
Grocery stores, farmers' markets and other small businesses that accept SNAP will also be affected by the loss in revenue from food purchases.
For the remainder of this fiscal year alone, the reductions mean losses for Pennsylvania of $183 million in federal SNAP benefits.
Julie Zaebst, policy center manager of the Greater Philadelphia Hunger Coalition, says these cuts, coupled with a proposal in the Farm Bill to cut up to $40 billion more from SNAP in the next decade, constitute a disaster for families in need.
"With so many people in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. struggling with hunger," she says, "and with this program being our first defense in the fight against hunger, Congress should really be asking some different questions about what they can do to support families in need."
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