Food Stamp Cuts to Start, Salvation Army Helps Families

BAY COUNTY -- A little more than 30,000 Bay County residents currently receive food stamps.

One in six locals is enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

The SNAP program provides lower income families with monthly credits to buy food.

But beginning November 1st, the federal government will be reducing the amount of those monthly credits by a total of about 400 million a month.

For family of one that will amount to about $24 a month, for a family of four, it's about $80 a month.

Audrey Jones, parent using SNAP program said, “People like me who need just a little bit more, not too much. I'm not asking for much but just a little bit more to help out with my kids because food is so expensive in the store."

Those who can't make ends meet will most likely end up at free food programs like the Salvation Army's food pantry.

The local Salvation Army food pantry is preparing for the cuts. When a family comes into the Salvation Army office, workers check for proof of income.

If you qualify, they give you a bag of food.

"It's nothing for us to see between twenty and thirty families a day for food," said Shae Wells, Salvation Army case worker.

And that number seems to be increasing. Florida Department of Children and Families officials said more than 3,000 people registered for the SNAP program in September.

And Wells believes it's only going to get worse.

"Especially at the last week of the month where the food stamps have run out so we see a lot of families at that time as well so I can only imagine that its definitely gonna be an increase because the cutting of food stamps."

The Salvation Army food pantry on West 15th street is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 to Noon and again from 1:00 till 3:00. It's closed on the weekend.

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