Food stamp cuts start today

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- SNAP benefits more commonly known as food stamps are being cut by 5% starting Friday.

In Arkansas, 17% of the population relies on SNAP benefits or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. These cuts will force families to seek assistance from local pantries.

"People are gonna become desperate for food," said mother, Katrina Swindle."The government is actually giving people no choice."

Swindle travels to a food pantry every month in order to feed her family. But with the SNAP cuts, she said she will probably be going more often.

"With our household it's actually three not four but how do you feed a household of three off of 100 dollars," she said.

Swindle said she is grateful for the can goods she is able to get from the pantry.

"When you've got a 5 year old, fruits and vegetables are a big thing," she said.

A five year old who Swindle wishes she could afford to treat to an occasional snack.

"When you're only getting $140 dollars in food stamps, you don't have money to spend on , you know your 5 year old asks for a candy bar, no baby we don't have money for that candy bar, we need to buy sugar, we need to buy milk," Swindle said.

This cut will be the equivalent of taking away 21 meals per month for a family of 4 or about $36 worth of food per month.

"We do anticipate that when SNAP benefits are cut to families at risk of hunger, we could see longer lines at our partnered food pantries," said Vicki Pillow at the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas.

Pillow said they serve 5,100 families in 12 counties who are at risk of hunger.

"We have the most people at risk of hunger who aren't sure where they're going to get their next meal actually 1 in 5 Arkansans are at risk for hunger," Pillow said.

Pillows said the work with 111 food panties in Region 8.

"If you don't know where you're going to get your next meal then you can call a food pantry and they can work with you to get some food just for a short period of time," she said.

SNAP cuts by household size beginning November 2013:

Household of 1------------------------------------ $-11

Household of 2-------------------------------------$-20

Household of 3-------------------------------------$-29

Household of 4-------------------------------------$-36

If you are at risk of hunger you can contact a food pantry in your area. The links include hours, addresses, phone numbers and what items other than food are available.

Cross County:

Mississippi County:

The "Fill the Food Bank" food drive will take place on November 13th in the Kroger Parking Lot.

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