Needy pinched by reduction in food stamps
Posted November 1, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Carolyn Muskin doesn't know how she'll make ends meet.
The Raleigh woman, who is on disability and cannot work, has relied on the $140 or so in food stamps she and her husband receive each month to fill her pantry and make meals. Her husband has lung cancer and likewise cannot work.
"My food stamps come on the 19th, and I'm usually by the end of the month running really low on things," Muskin said.
The couple will now have to make due with about $7 less a month, now that a 5 percent bump in food stamp benefits has expired. Congress included the temporary increase in the economic stimulus package passed in 2009 to help needy families during the recession.
Without the extra benefits, the average family of four with some income will get about $10 less a month in food stamps, while a family of four with no income will see a $36-a-month decrease.
"Every dollar counts. Every penny counts. I mean, I'm on a budget, a very strict budget," Muskin said. "It's very hard, very, very hard."
More than 47 million Americans receive food stamps, including about 1.7 million in North Carolina. The North Carolina Justice Center, a liberal advocacy group, estimates that North Carolina's economy will lose $166 million over the next 11 months because food stamps recipients won't be able to buy as much food.
"This is going to just make for some more hungry people," said Denise Crumpler, executive director of North Raleigh Ministries.
Crumpler said she just hopes donations of food keep coming so North Raleigh Ministries can help people like Muskin.
"We can't save the world, but we can feed hungry people in our neighborhood," she said.