Knox food banks bracing for impact after food stamp cuts Friday

Knoxville food banks bracing for impact after food stamp cuts Friday

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Food banks in East Tennessee are preparing for cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Food banks in East Tennessee are preparing for cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
"For the next two months, the demand increases, so it's unfortunate that Washington has decided to do this November 1," said Second Harvest Executive Director Elaine Streno. "For the next two months, the demand increases, so it's unfortunate that Washington has decided to do this November 1," said Second Harvest Executive Director Elaine Streno.
"The churches here in Fountain City will step up and we will take care of whatever shortfall there is. We will not let anyone in our community go hungry," said Fountain City Ministry Center operations manager Bill Keeler. "The churches here in Fountain City will step up and we will take care of whatever shortfall there is. We will not let anyone in our community go hungry," said Fountain City Ministry Center operations manager Bill Keeler.

By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Food banks in East Tennessee are preparing for cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

The federal government's short term inflation of the program ends on Friday, meaning homes receiving food stamps will see a drop in their monthly benefits. The change is leaving many people concerned about putting food on the table, and it could impact food banks.

Twice a month, the New Life Bread Basket van is stocked with canned goods and supplies from Second Harvest Food Bank to help feed the hungry in Loudon County.

"These groceries will last about two weeks, sometimes a little further depending on how many people we have come through our food bank first of the month," said volunteer Kenneth Peaden.

Because of cuts to the food stamp program that will happen in a matter of days, the food pantry is expecting the need to spike 5 to 10 percent, especially at the end of the month because food stamps only last so long.

Peaden not only volunteers, but he receives about $16 a month in benefits. "I'm going to lose approximately $5 to $6," he said.

While that may not sound like much, to Peaden it's a gallon of milk and a carton of eggs.

More than 200 food pantries in the region rely on Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee to help stock their shelves. Officials with Second Harvest say cuts couldn't have come at a worse time.

"For the next two months, the demand increases, so it's unfortunate that Washington has decided to do this November 1," said Executive Director Elaine Streno.

The organization is expecting the need to grow by nearly 25 percent.

"We're going to have more demand for food and that's been really tough challenge given the demand accelerated two years ago and we haven't been able to keep up with that demand," added Streno.

According to the USDA, for a family of four receiving the maximum amount, their benefits will drop from $668 to $632. That's a difference of $36.

Officials at Fountain City Ministry Center say it's too soon to tell if cuts will make an impact.

"The churches here in Fountain City will step up and we will take care of whatever shortfall there is. We will not let anyone in our community go hungry," said operations manager Bill Keeler.

Second Harvest is looking to the community to help fill in the gap. They welcome donations like peanut butter, canned goods, or a monetary donation.

Around 1.3 million people in Tennessee receive food stamps at a cost of about $176 million per month.

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