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Lower food stamp benefits kick in Friday

Posted October 30, 2013

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— A difficult year for low-income families in North Carolina is about to get harder.

As part of the economic stimulus package passed in 2009, Congress temporarily boosted food stamp benefits to help needy families get through the recession. That temporary increase expires Friday, when federal food vouchers will be cut by about 5 percent.

The reduction means the average family of four receiving partial help will get $10 less a month. For a family of four with no income, it's a bigger hit at $36 less a month.

"Anybody who has no income or very little income who was relying on those dollars is going to need to visit an emergency food pantry or somewhere they can get emergency food assistance," said Jennifer Caslin, a spokeswoman for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

Caslin noted those facilities are already strained, following cuts to unemployment benefits in North Carolina and federal cutbacks during the recent government shutdown and because of the sequestration.

Demand at the Caslin's food bank, for example, was up 12 percent in both July and August and shows no signs of leveling off. The food bank helps stock more than 850 partner agencies, such as soup kitchens and food pantries, in 34 counties.

Food banks Cut to food stamps to further strain pantries, soup kitchens

"There's more people who are in need. There's more people visiting our partner agencies," she said. "The food is going out the door just as fast as it's coming in."

About one in seven people in North Carolina, or nearly 1.6 million people, received some type of food assistance from the federal government last month, and the lower benefits could come as a nasty surprise to some families.

The state Department of Health and Human Services didn't notify clients about the change, asking instead that county officials post signs about it in their offices.

DHHS officials declined to comment Wednesday.

"The need is great, and it's not looking like it's going to end anytime soon," Caslin said.

100 Comments

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  • jeffjohnson123 Oct 31, 6:49 p.m.

    junkmail5 with the half truths again.
    The rate going on foodstamps is higher under Obama. Once he's been in office as long as bush, then we can compare 'totals'.

  • MzLadySmiling Oct 31, 6:40 p.m.

    I'm not sure why food stamps doesn't cover certain
    foods the way WIC does.... Eliminate the non nutritious
    junk food that fills these carts... Provide for better nutrition
    that helps a person, and their health.... If they don't want
    the help and demand the junk, sure they can have it,
    but not on the taxpayers dime.... Cough up the cash
    for such junk when you buy your beer and ciggies.... I sure don't mind buying oatmeal, powdered milk, along with dry beans and rice for myself.... And I wouldn't mind buying it for someone who's hungry... I qualify for food stamps, but don't bother because I eat The way I do.... And I make ends meet just fine..... They are no better than myself.... Just lazier I guess....

  • Billy the Kid Oct 31, 4:29 p.m.

    "It's a Republican-controlled congress both here and in Washington. If you're middle-income or poverty level you're doomed. Hey, not everybody owns the banks."

    LOL. The Dem's love to milk middle income people like me. Neither side does a **** for me or my family. That's why this guy is an Independent.

  • junkmail5 Oct 31, 4:00 p.m.

    As for able-bodied adults, hmmm...I'll have to think more about that. Seems to me an able-bodied adult WITH NO CHILDREN THEY'D NEED TO HIRE A BABYSITTER FOR should be able to get a job washing dishes, cutting grass, heck even sweeping the floors of stores and offices, to earn enough to feed themselves. Shouldn't they?
    IWontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves

    Give there's 3 unemployed people for every open job... no, they really can't.

    Obama's America= welfare and food stamps for all
    A person

    Except, as I proved earlier, Bush added more to food stamps than Obama... and welfare spending began rising UNDER BUSH and has DECLINED year over year since 2010 under Obama.

    So reality is the opposite of your perception.

  • ncouterbanks69 Oct 31, 3:43 p.m.

    "I'll have to think more about that. Seems to me an able-bodied adult WITH NO CHILDREN THEY'D NEED TO HIRE A BABYSITTER FOR should be able to get a job washing dishes, cutting grass, heck even sweeping the floors of stores and offices, to earn enough to feed themselves. Shouldn't they?"

    Without even trying hard. Let's even assume you are starting at the bottom and earning minimum wage. Don't walk in 20 minutes late every day, don't talk/play on your phone all day and actually apply yourself. You will not be earning minimum wage very long if that is the case.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Oct 31, 3:40 p.m.

    I DO agree though - no junk food, no sodas, no pastries. I see people come through my store every day using food stamps to buy big elaborately decorated birthday cakes made especially for them. Then they buy sodas, chips, you name it for the rest of the party, sometimes spending up to $150 to throw a birthday party - ON MY DIME!!!

    It's wrong!

    I'm a retired old lady living on Social Security and a little part-time job at a nearby grocery store to get me out of the house. I can't even afford a cake or party like that. Why should I help foot the bill for theirs?

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Oct 31, 3:37 p.m.

    Person - "Why do Republicans who live in a fantasy world think they are qualified to lead in real life?"

    Democrats are just as bad.

    There are too many wealthy politicians in our legislative offices, too many wealthy attorneys let me clarify.

    Few of them have ever had to live hand to mouth like so many people in this country do, so how do they know what it takes to live like that then?

    They don't!

    Yet they make decision that affect those that do.

    IMO - every politician should be required to live one month out of each year in office on no more than a person with their family would get on welfare, food stamps, WIC, Medicaid, etc.

    Then they'd come to know firsthand what it takes to get by with nothing more than that.

    Then when it came time for them to make decisions regarding that, they'd be making INFORMED decisions rather than UNINFORMED ones like they do now.

  • IPayYouPay Oct 31, 3:37 p.m.

    It's a Republican-controlled congress both here and in Washington. If you're middle-income or poverty level you're doomed. Hey, not everybody owns the banks.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Oct 31, 3:34 p.m.

    Danny22 - "they should only be used in traditional grocery stores, not convenience and specialty shops."

    There are people who live about 2 miles from me in a trailer park who have no transportation to get to the nearest grocery store 6-8 miles away.

    There only hope is to get what they need at the convenience store adjacent to the park.

    Should they starve then, since they can't get to a traditional grocery store like you think they should?

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Oct 31, 3:33 p.m.

    El Hans - "I say only Whole Foods. There's one in my neighborhood - if I can go there, why can't "these people"?"

    First of all, Whole Foods does sell bakery and junk food items.

    Secondly, the nearest Whole Foods to me is almost 30 miles away. Why would I drive there when Food Lion is only 6 miles away? Why would anyone??

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