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SNAP Cuts “Scary” for Ohio’s Families and Local Economies

PHOTO: The 1.9 million Ohioans who receive federal food assistance will see their benefits decrease Friday. Many will turn to food pantries to fill the void. Courtesy: OAFB.
PHOTO: The 1.9 million Ohioans who receive federal food assistance will see their benefits decrease Friday. Many will turn to food pantries to fill the void. Courtesy: OAFB.
October 31, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Close to two million Ohioans are facing what some say is a frightening situation.

A temporary boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) expires today and food stamp benefits will decrease by $36 per month for a family of four.

But Joree Jacobs, director of communications of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, says that's not the only threat, as the House and Senate on Wednesday resumed negotiations over reductions to SNAP in the Farm Bill.

"The threats that are being made right now in Farm Bill discussions are frankly really scary,” Jacobs says. “Ohioans that are already living paycheck to paycheck can't afford to make anymore sacrifices given what they are already losing in these automatic ARRA cuts."

The Senate plan would cut $4.5 billion to SNAP benefits, and House versions call for $40 billion in cuts over 10 years.

Jacobs says she hopes leaders reconsider any harmful changes to federal nutrition assistance programs that would hurt Ohio's must vulnerable citizens, including children, seniors, veterans and those with a disability.

Jacobs points out these across-the-board cuts this week will have a major impact on the poorest of the poor, many who work but don't earn wages sufficient enough to purchase enough food to put on the table.

"That's something that normally would have gone to pay the for rent or mortgage, to pay the electric bill, to pay for doctor's visits or expensive prescriptions, rising fuel costs to get to work every day,” she says. $36 a month means a lot to these families."

Jacobs adds that the reduction in benefits not only hurts low-income families, but local economies.

"We're going to be losing nearly $200 million over the next year in money being spent in local communities at grocery stores and retailers,” she explains. “We want to see folks in grocery store lines, not in our food pantry line."

To fill the loss from the ARRA cuts, Jacobs says Ohio foodbanks would have to almost double the amount of food they are currently distributing.


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH