Posted at: 11/01/2013 6:35 PM
By: John Doetkott
Food Assistance Cuts Begin for Thousands of Minnesotans
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Friday marked the first day that people on the federal food stamp program will see a reduction in the amount of money they receive each month.
The $5 billion reduction will affect an estimated 47 million people nationwide, and over half a million people in Minnesota.
The average family of four will see their benefits drop by about $36 a month, and while that might not sound like a lot, experts know that for families living on a budget, every dollar counts.
“It doesn't go as far as it used to,” said Gerald Meier, chairman of the Southland Faith Food Shelf in Adams. “Groceries are higher, taxes are higher, rent's higher, car insurance is higher, gasoline is higher, everything's higher."
Meier said the shelf has recently seen a large increase in the number of visitors, currently serving 54 local families.
And they say the cuts will only drive that number higher.
“Cutting the food stamps is bad,” Meier said simply. “It's really going to hurt us because we're being stretched right now."
And even despite low donation totals at food shelves across the area, volunteers say they're committed to getting food to those in need.
“I feel we have to help them,” Meier said. “We just have to help them. They need help and so if it's possible to help them in some way, we'll help them."
Some Republican legislators have proposed cutting federal food assistance even further, but volunteers like Meier said it would be a step in the wrong direction.