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Local food bank bracing for food stamp cuts

KDBC
Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 10:21pm

In 2009, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the government increased Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to help low income families during the financial crisis. Friday that temporary boost will expire for 177,000 El Pasoans.

The food stamp cuts total $5 billion, which will mean less money for groceries for millions of people who rely on the help.

Here in the borderland, that means 77,000 households will see less SNAP benefits.

"Definitely will feel an increase in demand for emergency food," said Director of Development for El Pasoans Hunger Food Bank, Liz Claudio.

Claudio said El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank will have to make up for it in a big way.

"Means a loss of about 8.6 million meals to the El Paso families that are currently low income and are in need," said Claudio.

Congressman Beto O'Rourke shared his thoughts on the matter.

"El Paso is one of the poorest communities in the United States and is disproportionately negatively impacted by these cuts. We all want to get to a balanced budget but we have to do it in a rational humane way that ensures that we ultimately start working on our debt, but that we don't hurt vulnerable families."said O'Rourke.

The organization collects food donations and redistributes them for 132 food pantries and agencies. The agencies then give it directly to those El Pasoans in need.

"Really doing the best we can to be the most efficient we possibly can in order to distribute the most possible food," said Claudio. “Now we are going to have to step and fill that gap and the gap is gonna get a lot bigger."

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