Mid-Missouri pantry operators worry food stamp cuts that took effect in November will put more strain on the poor.
It appears Congress is ready to pass more cuts to the program in a new Farm Bill.
Debbie Calvin??s food stamps were cut down to $69 a month from $170 a month two years. She depends on Columbia??s Central Pantry to make up the difference. Some members of Congress want to pass a Farm Bill that would cut the nation??s food stamp program by about $1 billion a year over next 5 years. Calvin said she can??t take any more cuts.
Calvin said, ??I have several conditions that require some special foods. I??m not just making it. I cannot afford a grocery store anymore. I did not have any money in my budget for food this month.??
Missouri food stamp users saw a 5% cut in November. State Director of the Missouri Food Bank Association Scott Baker said other states would be worse off under the proposed Farm Bill.
Baker said, ??It??s only going to affect a handful of states. Missouri is not one of those. Most of the cuts that we??ll see in this Farm Bill shouldn??t impact Missouri too drastically.??
Government statistics show the need at Missouri pantries continues to rise, no matter what happens with the Farm Bill. Central Pantry serves more than 12,000 people every month. Food bank officials said Missouri pantries have distributed a record amount of food during the past year.
Calvin said, ??I??m worried all of the time. I don??t sleep. I worry.??
According to the Missouri Department of Social Services, more than 18,000 people in Boone County get food stamp assistance. Central Pantry employees said they??ve seen more people with food stamps coming to their pantry and they don??t expect that to change anytime soon.
The food stamp cuts would take effect for new applicants in March.
The Senate is expected to pass the bill next week.