CharityFood Pantry

Our take: Food stamp cuts will hurt many people

Food from the PantryBecause of recent government cuts that affect not only the food stamp program but food pantry funding, Grace Food Pantry continues to need your prayers, time and donations. While we always have a good supply of ladies clothing for our yard sale ministry, we really need children’s and baby clothing at each distribution. The recent “Bags of Care” initiated by Sharon and Mason Phillips is an attempt to provide the basic hygiene needs for our clients as well as food. Any help that you can provide with these items will be greatly appreciated by those who come to Grace for help. The following article was published in the York Daily Record on October 31, 2103.

Our take: Food stamp cuts will hurt many people

York Daily Record editorial

Could you survive on $6.66 worth of food per day? Probably. Three packets of ramen noodles. Maybe a hotdog. Possibly a small milk carton for one meal. Water for the rest. You could get by — but it would not be the life of luxury that many people imagine when they hear “food stamps.”

Yes, we’ve heard the horror stories of waste, fraud and abuse in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — the actual name of the federal food stamp program. You know, people dressed in designer clothes and paying for junk food with their SNAP cards. No doubt, there is abuse in the system. But neither is there any doubt that the program helps many desperately poor people.

That $6.66 figure comes from an example on the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare website of current SNAP benefits available to a one-person household (depending on income and expenses). That hypothetical SNAP beneficiary gets $200 a month for food from the program, which works out to $6.66 per day in a 30-day month. Probably not a lot of filet mignon in that household. And come Nov. 1, that person’s meals might become even more meager.

Because money pumped into the SNAP program through the federal stimulus package is expiring, those benefits will be reduced. Mr. $6.66 will become Mr. $6.30. Forget the hotdog. It’s ramen for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

A theoretical two-person household’s SNAP benefits will be reduced from $12.23 to $11.56 per day. For a three-person household, it goes from $17.53 to $16.56 per day. Try to feed an adult and two growing kids on that.

Of course, many SNAP households have some income and might receive other assistance — so they might be able to spend more per actual meal. And yes, we should expect people to be self-sufficient. But the point is that these are not extravagant welfare benefits — not an attractive lifestyle that many would choose or aspire to. Most of these recipients are very poor — sometimes through fault of their own, but often not.

They need help from a caring society. They need to turn to food banks and community pantries for assistance. And those charitable resources need assistance from those who can afford to help.

A recent front-page news story focused on volunteers from the Young Women’s Club of York who come together to pack food boxes at the York County Food Bank for distribution to local pantries. Volunteer Lynn Costa was surprised to learn that her own father-in-law regularly received food boxes.

There but for the grace of God.

With SNAP benefits being reduced this fall, please consider donating to a local food bank.

Around Thanksgiving, the York Daily Record/Sunday News Christmas Emergency Fund will begin collecting donations from readers — with benefits going to the York County Food Bank. We hope you will donate generously. In a nation as prosperous and blessed as ours, no one should go hungry or live on $6.30 a day for food.

But if you are in that situation, visit the USDA’s SNAP recipe finder website that allows you to plug in how much you have to spend and provides handy budget recipes. Plug in $3 and up comes “Migas Crumbs” — $1.56 per recipe, 39 cents a serving.

Bon appetit!

TAKEN FROM: on 11/21/2013.