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Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (not shown) and his staff volunteer at the Greater Boston Food Bank.
Volunteers and donations cannot make up for a huge loss of government aid.

It's food stamp cuts day. Yes, it's November 1, the day a boost to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits added through the 2009 stimulus abruptly expires, rather than gradually phasing out as planned, because Democrats pulled money from it in 2010 that they were totally going to put back in, they promised, except then Republicans took over the House. The benefits reductions are the kind of money that doesn't sound like a lot if you never worry about having enough money for food, but translate to the loss of a lot of food for budgets already by definition stretched to the breaking point. That means food banks are about to face added demand—demand they will struggle to keep up with:

When people don’t have the resources to feed themselves, and government welfare programs aren’t giving them the help they need, food banks are often the safety net of last resort. However, these non-profit charities are also dependent on government subsidies, and many of them are seeing their budgets shrink even as demand for their services reaches unprecedented levels. This holds especially true in low-income areas where food pantries rely on the donations of churchgoers who are themselves struggling, said Food Bank For New York City president and CEO Margarette Purvis.

“For programs that have lower capacity, more of them are closed, and they are closed primarily because they rely on faith-based resources,” Purvis told “They rely on the collection plate.”

Food banks across the country, from Washington state to New Jersey, where one food bank director says "we’re here to provide some food, but we were never meant to be sustaining people. We were meant to be emergency ... And now what you have here, the government pulling some of their very important partnership in helping to feed those who are struggling to put food on the table. The charitable system can’t make up such a loss of that" and another says "To put it bluntly, we can’t come in and make up $90 million across the state. We just can’t." So hunger will be the result.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:27 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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