Food Stamp Cuts Could Impact Local Agencies

By: Brett Baldeck Email
By: Brett Baldeck Email

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - The shelves at the food pantry inside HOTEL INC are nearly bare after an above average summer.

"We have already served more than 5,000 clients when we were heading into the 3rd quarter. Which is more than 1,000 more than all of 2012 for us," says Executive Director Rhondell Miller.

That number could now climb higher. The house voted last week to cut 5% from the nations food stamp program. If approved, it would impact a service used by more than 1 in 7 Americans.

"Our problem could then be do we have enough food? Do we actually have enough funding to be able to assist them? Right now food donations come in and it goes out quicker," says Miller.

The potential cuts come on the heels of a U.S. Census report, saying Kentucky poverty climbed to 19.4% in 2012. It's an increase also being seen at the local Salvation Army.

"We are serving about 150 to 200 people a day Monday through Friday in our soup kitchen. Our shelter numbers are higher than they have ever been. We are ranging between anywhere from 45 people a night to 65," says Director of Social Services, Heather Gordon.

Community Action of Southern Kentucky provides service to 10 area counties. They fear any change in food stamps will be especially tough for single parents.

"Now you cut that, will they be able to pay child care? Or will they have to quit school or quit their job or not pay their utility bills?," says CEO Cheryl Allen.

Officials from area non-profit agencies say most of those on food stamps are those who work and are in single parent families.

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