Food Stamp funding could impact community agencies

Posted by Jessi Turnure

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) -  According to the Washington Post, 15 percent of Americans depend on food stamps. However, 70 percent of the population thinks the government should reduce funding.

Allen Cox, a volunteer with the Salvation Army in Pocahontas, said he could not imagine what it would be like if the government reduced funding. They already cannot keep up with the current demand. "Where would their next meal come from? It would be overwhelming for this area. We are just loaded here. This parking lot is not big enough."

Cox said they currently serve food two days a week. During this time, they serve about 65 people a day. "It's a busy day."

He said he also sees people of all ages. "A lot of older people, but yet there's a lot of people who've lost jobs. They're not being able to work."

People who depend on food stamps can come to the Salvation Army once a month. Cox said more than 90 percent of the people they see depend on food stamps. To put that in perspective, about 3,000 people in Randolph County receive benefits from the Food Stamp Program every month.

"If that food stamps wasn't there, what would it do? It would double, at least double, our load here of trying to keep food and being able to service them. It would not be good."

Cox said they even receive food donations from the NEA Food Bank, local churches and more. "But that doesn't cover any where the amount that's needed. The demand that we have."

Cox said many do not realize the great need in Randolph County. "Before I was a volunteer here, I didn't realize how many people, the condition of the people. They don't have jobs, they're elderly, they can't work, a lot of them are crippled."

If you would like to help, the Salvation Army in Pocahontas needs volunteers and donations. You can donate any canned or dry food items in their 24-hour drop off box located on 2421 Old County Rd.

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