Federal food stamp benefits have been trimmed by five billion dollars starting Friday. Families on food stamps will now get $1.40 per person for food.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 875,000 Kentuckians make up the 47 million people on food stamps; this includes 22 million children and nine million elderly or seriously disabled people.
God’s Pantry is the largest food bank in Kentucky. It helps between 1,700-2,000 families in Fayette County put food on the table each month.
“Back in 2007 we had on average of 600-900 families a month and since the recession and over that time we've grown,” said Linda Lancaster, Community Services Manager at God’s Pantry, who says the pantry is expecting more people will need food with the food stamp cuts.
The cut comes after a temporary boost to the food stamp program ended without a new budget to replace it.
“It will mean approximately 192,000 pounds of food less will be available a month to those families,” said Lancaster.
God’s Pantry is looking at needing 137% more food and monetary donations to make up the difference in food people won’t be able to afford.
The Salvation Army also is looking at increasing the number of families they help.
“I wouldn't surprise me if we continue to see an increase in first time families coming for assistance and perhaps even other families who maybe only had to access the pantry once or twice a year they will probably be coming more often,” said Major Debra Ashcraft with the Salvation Army in Lexington.
The Salvation Army and God’s Pantry plan to do all they can but they need the community’s help.
“We are going to stretch our food contributions as far as we possibly can that's our commitment,” said Major Ashcraft.
“We just encourage people to think about what these people are going to do, they're going to be hungry and somebody has to feed them,” said Lancaster.