On Nov. 1, all households that receive food stamp assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) saw a cut to their benefits: the average household of four now has $36 less per month to purchase food. These cuts already amount to a loss of 47 million meals in Washington state over the next year, yet Congress is close to cutting even more from SNAP. The Farm Bill may cut as much as another $8.6 billion in food assistance. In Washington alone, the cut would mean that 232,000 households will lose $90/month in SNAP, a cut on top of the loss that they have already experienced.
Your voice is critical for preventing additional cuts to SNAP. Tweet these stories to your networks with the hashtags #protectSNAP #FarmBill and send them to your Congressional representative and our Senators, telling them loud and clear– “No more cuts to SNAP in the Farm Bill!”
Chandra lives in Deer Park, just outside of Spokane, Washington. Her household of 8 includes caring for 6 children. She strives to buy healthy food to feed her family, but healthy food isn’t cheap. She tries to use all of her food stamps before turning to the food bank for assistance, usually at the end of the month when her monthly SNAP benefits have been exhausted, leaving her to “scrape the cupboards.”
Still, she does her best to feed her family the best she can with their household SNAP allowance. Chandra shops sales and pools her food resources together with a couple of friends who also have large families. Together, they share meals and when one finds a bulk buy bargain, they will share their purchases with each other, stretching their dollars as far as they can go.
But the SNAP cuts that took effect on Nov. 1 have dealt a huge blow to Chandra’s household budget. Chandra’s monthly SNAP benefits have been cut by $75 each month, due to the expiration of the economic stimulus boost to SNAP. “I’ve had to use cash to pay the bills,” she says, but bills not all the bills get paid each month. “I pay them by order of importance: rent always gets paid then the rest go unpaid to buy food.”
Otherwise, Chandra still goes to the food bank once a month, but the food she receives is not enough to make up the difference for what she could purchase with her SNAP dollars. This smart and savvy shopper is also borrowing from and trading with friends to stretch her budget, but the fact remains that household bills go unpaid each month in order to meet household food needs that were otherwise met before their SNAP benefits were cut.
Marilyn lives in Cle Elum. She lives on a fixed income from Social Security and earlier this year, her food stamps were cut by $43. The Nov. 1 SNAP cuts took another $11 from her monthly food budget.
Marilyn described the effects of those cuts on her diet: “That’s a couple of gallons of milk. I just don’t drink as much milk or eat cereal. Or I don’t get a roll of hamburger meat so I have to get processed foods which aggravates my diabetes. We’re talking my life here, literally. I’d like to see them live on what we get. Better than not getting it, but it hurts when you lose and you don’t know what you might lose the next month.”