Food stamp users say benefit cut dents food budget

Danielle Wilson loads groceries into her car at the Central Pantry Friday afternoon. Wilson told KRCG 13 new SNAP benefit reductions significantly reduce the money she can put toward food.

Danielle Wilson pushes an old HyVee cart around the Food Bank's Central Pantry, loading it up with food for her and her baby. She said she is going to come here more often now that her food stamp benefits have gone down.

On Thursday night, a 2009 provision that increased funding for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program sunsetted. This means users of SNAP benefits, popularly known as food stamps, will get less money to spend on food this month than they did in October. The Missouri Department of Social Services said the reduction amount varies, but a family of four with no income would receive $632 in SNAP benefits for the month of November compared with $668 this October. This means a family in this situation would be able to spend at most $7.02 on a single meal, assuming the family eats three meals a day for 30 days, down 40 cents from last month.

Scott Gordon, the communications director for the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, told KRCG 13 he does not expect any sudden spikes in the number of people coming to the charity's Central Pantry as a result of the SNAP cuts. He said the Food Bank has seen steady increases in demand since the recession. This year, it set a record-high goal of 30 million pounds of food, up from 27 million last year. The pantry gives food away, so people don't need to spend money or use food stamps there.

Bredon Napier said he gets about $115 every month in SNAP benefits, which pays for most of his food.

"If I run a little low, I can't get as much food, so it affects me a little bit," he said.

Napier said the SNAP reduction means he will have to spend more of his Social Security check on food.

Wilson estimates food stamps account for about 75 percent of her monthly food budget. She said she is already trying to balance raising her child with being a full-time student and will most likely have to take another job on top of that to ensure she has enough to eat.