On Friday, November 1, a reduction in food stamp (SNAP) benefits went into effect across the country, affecting millions of Americans who struggle with hunger, food insecurity and poverty. The reduction in benefits translates into a loss of $36 per month for a family of four – a substantial amount for those who rely on food assistance to put food on the table. The loss will hurt the most vulnerable in our community. 76% of SNAP households include a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person. These vulnerable households receive 83% of all SNAP benefits.
The SNAP reductions are likely to place unprecedented demand on food banks, including this one. At Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, a significant portion of our clients are SNAP participants. The drop in benefits will make it much harder for them to get healthy food in adequate amounts. More than ever, these neighbors will need our help.
The Food Bank is, as always, collaborating closely with partner distribution organizations and member agencies to provide food assistance to households who will have to make do with less. But we cannot do this alone; support from the community is essential. We are also working to spread the word about how SNAP recipients might qualify for additional help through the program.
With winter on the way, access to food becomes even more challenging. Coupled with the lowered benefits, the coming months are going to mean very difficult times for many of our neighbors, who are facing hunger and malnutrition. And unfortunately, things could soon worsen, as even deeper cuts – as much as $40 billion – may be forthcoming with potential passage of the Farm Bill.
Please join us in urging our United States Senators and Congressmen to protect SNAP from additional cuts. You can get involved in this effort by participating in our virtual postcard campaign and encouraging your family members, friends, colleagues and co-workers to register at www.hungeractioncenter.org to stay up to date on other opportunities to exert your influence.