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A box of food for a Family size of 4, given out through the Food Pantry at the Community Center of St Bernard.

Thanksgiving is coming up just as the effects of a recent food stamp reduction hit struggling families hard. Benefits were cut on November 1, which means people are running out of food even earlier in the month than they did previously. And that means they're turning to food pantries, which are doing everything they can to help but won't be able to make up the difference. In Augusta, Georgia, for instance:
“We are beginning to hear from our pantries that they are beginning to see an increase in the number of families and individuals they are seeing each week and month,” said Travis McNeal, the executive director of Golden Harvest Food Bank.

Golden Harvest serves more than 300 food pantries, churches and social service agencies in 30 counties in Georgia and South Carolina. In the 19 Georgia counties it serves, the food stamps cuts amount to $15.9 million, McNeal said. Richmond County food stamp recipients lost $6.8 million.

The Downtown Cooperative Church Ministries, a mission of several local churches, will try to apply for more grant money to make up for the extra food supplies needed, said director Christy Cunningham.

In Santa Fe, New Mexico, where one food pantry has already served 11.5 percent more households than at this time last year:
Even as greater demand is anticipated, Santa Fe’s biggest food pantry, Food for Santa Fe, has had to reduce the bags of groceries it distributes at 1222 Siler Road from 900 to 600 per week, according to Susan Odiseos, board president. That cutback occurred in mid-September to keep the program from operating in the red—a situation that develops partly due to the fact that the bulk of monetary donations come in November and December, she noted.
In New York City:
"There's a whole lot of struggling going on," said Mary, who waited in line for her turn at the food pantry housed in the Beulah Church of the Nazarene. Mary receives food stamps, which have been cut recently. "They cut my food stamps. How do they expect us to make it when we don't get food stamps?"
According to Bradley Backus, the food pantry's director, "The cut in SNAP benefits has had a tremendous impact." Meanwhile, the House and Senate are trying to agree on how much to cut from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, with proposals on the table that could kick millions of people out of the program altogether. Happy Thanksgiving!

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 08:54 AM PST.

Also republished by Hunger in America, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Way to go Republicans, the economy would actually (12+ / 0-)

    pick up if you expanded the program instead of cutting it.

    "Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons." - Woody Allen

    by blueoregon on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 09:10:53 AM PST

  •  As "trickle-down" goes, donations from (7+ / 0-)

    charitable citizens and organizations will pick up the slack of government programs cut so that corporate welfare can continue unabated and expand. Since most donors to those local charities hail from the classes that are struggling just slightly less than those receiving outright charity, it will fall to families already squeezed themselves to ensure that their neighbors don't starve outright. Compassionate conservatism, anyone?

    I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake. ― Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

    by dannyboy1 on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 09:30:31 AM PST

    •  I agree (7+ / 0-)

      Those of us that know how to add a little more water to the soup to make sure there's enough to share are the ones that pick up the slack.

      Don’t argue with idiots because they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.—Greg King

      by Pinto Pony on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 09:36:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes - That's What The Republicans Are Counting On (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Teiresias70, pitbullgirl65, dannyboy1

        Those of us who have jobs, but haven't had a raise in a while, and are squeezed ourselves, but don't like to see our neighbors starve, will just have to dig a little deeper. Open up those wallets folks, so the oil companies/agribusiness/the military-industrial complex can keep their subsidies, and the wealthy can keep their offshore tax shelters, and the hedge fund managers can continue to classify carried interest as capital gains to avoid paying income taxes on it, and the stock market speculators can continue to dodge paying a transactions tax, and ...  get it?? It's the Republicans protecting their 1% constituents, while asking everyone else to sacrifice.

    •  Our local pantry is really being hit hard (8+ / 0-)

      Because we are a small area, they prefer donations of actual canned goods instead of cash (in a prior post it was recommended to donate money because sometimes their buying power gets more food).

      I have been telling all of my friends and neighbors to stock up on cans and drop them off at the food shelter. Right now cans of chicken broth are 51 cents. Black beans (not store brand) are 68 cents. I don't buy condensed soup but this is a Cream of Mushroom time of year if you are so inclined to pick up a few cans.

      Food pantries end up with the crap people buy that sits in their pantry forever and never gets used. I'm trying to send good stuff over there. Poor people who are hungry do not deserve to eat my extra spicy enchilada sauce or the can of jalapenos that ended up in my cabinet mysteriously.

      "Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions.” --Lord Vetinari

      by voracious on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 09:37:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Only the reason they are squeezed (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Teiresias70, CroneWit, dannyboy1

      is because the people who had just a little bit more and good hearts and good intentions now don't have that little more.

      I always brought the Thanksgiving dinner package to my church for our partner school. The last two years that's been way out of my price range. I have to content myself with helping to pack them.

      On a food budget that is considerably less than the food stamp challenge amount, I have nothing  to give, much as I'd like to. I consider my contribution not utilizing food pantries.

      There are people in this country who could feed every hungry person in America with what they make in half a year.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

      by anastasia p on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 11:15:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I had a boss once (6+ / 0-)

    who had a tradition of firing a given percentage of his employees on Thanksgiving week. He usually had a reason - of sorts - maybe - but he would wait till Thanksgiving just to rub it in.
    In the end it's all about the cruelty.

  •  Considering what (4+ / 0-)

    astounding, unbelievable massive dicks the Republicans are, I so, so want to believe that karma exists, and that someday they'll get theirs.

    Some days, I'm not so sure. It seems like the good and decent are punished for having the gall to be born poor or experienced circumstances beyond their control, while the wicked prevail.

    Sad to say, I'm still astounded at the depths of depravity and cruelty that these people sink to.

    "Freedom comes at the price of eternal vigilance."

    by Liberal Heretic on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 10:46:23 AM PST

  •  doing my part (7+ / 0-)

    I now donate $100 month automatically every month to CT Foodshare.  And wrote both my senators not to cut at all.  I have really good senators, Blumenthal and Murphy but know what is coming from this wretched "compromise."
    How long before we speak not of food insecurity but starvation?  And demonstrate that the idea that democracies do not permit starvation is a lie?

    •  Term 'food insecurity' introduced to replace (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      'hunger' in govt reports a few years ago.  The used to report degrees of 'hunger', now they report degrees of 'food insecurity' -- which masks how many nights per week children are going to be hungry, or how many times a week the bread-earning Mom goes without a meal so her children can have something.

      In the Guardian, I see that the articles about 'not enough to eat' are using the term 'Food Poverty'.  I think this is a much better term than the deceptive 'food insecurity'.

  •  And (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rebel ga, Zack from the SFV

    And I do not like my moniker liberal pragmatist anymore; now I am an angry social democrat but cannot see how to change the moniker!

  •  My Food Stamps just cut about 12% in FL, after (11+ / 0-)

    being cut previously, this year, by one third.

    So roughly 40% below what I got last year, and it makes a huge difference.

    I live alone, on SS, and these cuts really hurt.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Mon Nov 18, 2013 at 11:28:43 AM PST

  •  Outstanding! #RepublicanChristmas (7+ / 0-)

    Extra points for empty bellies at this time of year.

  •  Hey! I volunteered at Golden Harvest before (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rebel ga, shoeless

    Back when I was in Girl Scouts.  Very mundane tasks, like ripping brand name labels off canned goods (for reasons I don't know) or stacking stuff.

    They're good people.

    The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

    by catwho on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 09:28:11 AM PST

  •  As I listened to my co-workers discussing (5+ / 0-)

    how "crack addicts" are trading their food stamps for cash to get drug money, I couldn't resist saying, "So in that story, you think that the food stamps are the problem?"

    "Where some see a system for encouraging discussion . . . others see an echo chamber of bad grammar, unchecked stupidity, and constructive interference . . . " -- Ars Technica

    by Rikon Snow on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 09:40:13 AM PST

    •  Debit cards, not paper 'money' used (0+ / 0-)

      for Food Stamps now -- this has been in place for about a decade.  The EBT cards can only be used at stores that have signed up with the USDA, and Food Stamp funds can only be used for food products -- and there are even some restrictions on the kinds of food that can be purchased.

      So there are no physical 'food stamps' to be 'traded'.  Please inform you co-workers.

      (One minor caveat:  The same EBT card might also carry TANF benefits, which can be used like cash to purchase things like paper good, cleaning supplies etc.)

  •  Americans have become jerks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    merrywidow, Caniac41, pitbullgirl65

      The problem is that a majority of Americans don't give a sh*t about their neighbors. That's how Republicans keep getting elected.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 09:40:51 AM PST

  •  A double bogey. (2+ / 0-)

    Food stamps are means-tested and some people who are broke don't qualify, especially in these depression times when people who had worked hard all their lives and done well for themselves are out of work, unemployed, and going through savings.

    Food banks don't means test. They just feed the hungry. The times are stress enough.  More demand for their services, much of it from the very people who used to donate food, money, and time.  Making even more people come up short doesn't help.

    At all.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 09:42:36 AM PST

  •  Would this be an awkward time (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to talk about Chained CPI and the people who are pushing it?

    Yeah, that's kinda what I thought.

  •  Fordstradamus predicts; Dems will 'compromise' (0+ / 0-)

    And agree to 'a deal' that ONLY cuts another $10 billion in food assistance, and then proudly proclaim it a 'victory'!



    "Here comes the night; dark as my soul. No end in sight, no shining light, no love to hold." - The Mavericks

    by Fordmandalay on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 09:50:39 AM PST

  •  I use to work in a mission, (7+ / 0-)

    and occasionally, I would go out and knock on doors for donations before the holiday season rolled in. I would beg to be put into a poor neighborhood because it would be so much easier to work and so many more donations, even if they were smaller.

    I have worked in wealthier neighborhoods and listened to excuses all day long: "I give to my church." "I give to United Way." "I give at work." "Tell those people to go get a job." All day long I would have doors slammed in my face and sometimes come out with so little, even when I was asking for even the smallest of donations.

    Alternately, working in even the poorest of neighborhoods, I have seen people dig into their couches to find some change, just so they could give something, even when they hardly had enough to feed their own families. I would always come out of a neighborhood like that with a ton of change and lots of one dollar bills but always a good amount.

    They say that the conservatives give more by statistics. I believe that is because the types of donations they give are more recorded. But from a former mission worker I can tell you that just is not true, and that's because the donations that poorer people give just are a great deal more anonymous than those of the rich.

    Rule the Day, Let not the Day Rule You.

    by fidlerten on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 09:51:21 AM PST

  •  Cutting food stamps: EXACTLY what Jesus would do! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless, Cassandra Waites

    I guess conservatives are Christians all for Jesus…until they step out of Church! Once out, they show their gratitude on Thanksgiving by cutting food stamps and kicking the poor.

    I guess they blame them for high unemployment…although the wealthy and corporations seems to thrive given the latest Dow results…

    Could it be that high unemployment is artificially maintained by the upper 0.1% in order to maintain low salaries…? Would they be THAT much of bastards…?


  •  next gop talking point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    99% if you are hungry during the holidays its the dems & obamas fault we love you and are outraged at this situation, aka fox propaganda.

  •  A beloved friend who receives SNAP told me (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless, CroneWit, Cassandra Waites

    that her county raised her SNAP benefits ~45 days before the cut came. She ended up only losing a few bucks per month.

    But still, every penny of her $303./month SNAP benefits is used. Somehow, she & her teen manage to maintain a monthly grocery budget under $400., in California.
    I just don't know how they do it. I grocery bomb them periodically, when I can afford to.

    What ever happened to the mass bulk buying coops? A person could pay a small amount, do community service, or pack the grocery boxes for pickup. Were these run by Friends/Quakers?

  •  The official Republican approved, government (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Supplied 'Meal For The Poor'. Eat hearty, you lazy 'takers'!


    "Here comes the night; dark as my soul. No end in sight, no shining light, no love to hold." - The Mavericks

    by Fordmandalay on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 10:08:49 AM PST

  •  do the food pantries get less supplies, or (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    just more demand because of the cuts?

    •  Both: less supply, more demand (0+ / 0-)
      •  So food pantries rely on food stamps too? (0+ / 0-)

        It is not clear from this post.

        •  Less cash flow/donations plus higher demand (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Heavy Mettle

          Perhaps I mis-read your comment.  I didn't realize you were asking about 'less supplies' as related directly to Food Stamp cuts.  Without any research to back this up, I would surmise that there is some (perhaps slight?) reduction in donations that ties directly to the Food Stamp cuts.  At the pantry I use, there's a (purely voluntary!) collection box near the sign-in table.  I would imagine that those donations have lessened because clients need to use more of their cash to buy food.

          As to more demand being tied directly to Food Stamp cuts, I've been doing some Food Stamp math lately, and have found that (in the household sizes I've reviewed) the reduction amounts to about 10 days' worth less per month -- one third of the month, or a week and a half no longer covered by Food Stamps.  Assuming the households have no further funds to divert to food (as is often the case), that 10-day gap has to be made up somehow.

  •  I know the answer! (0+ / 0-)

    More tax cuts!!! Isn't that the answer to every question? All we have to do is cut the Koch Brothers' taxes even more, and I'm sure they'll then use the money they're not paying to Uncle Sam to fund food banks and meals-on-wheels programs everywhere! Problem solved!

  •  30 counties in Georgia and South Carolina (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    merrywidow, pitbullgirl65

    You poor white people down there, keep on voting Republican until you are too weak from hunger to make it to the polling place.

    The problem with political jokes is they get elected.

    by shoeless on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 10:28:48 AM PST

  •  Just set up a monthly donation in NYC (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to a pantry in my neighborhood and all of a sudden, I feel my job has purpose, feeding others....and I was feeling that what I do all day is pointless...

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 10:31:24 AM PST

  •  Food Stamps. (0+ / 0-)

       Since 2008 there has been a huge increase in demand for food from people from all walks of life. The soup kitchen that I used to participate in before shutting down, more than doubled the amount of people they served. Whole family units started coming into the kitchen, and little or no leftovers after each meal. There used to be seconds to just about everyone before 2008.                                                                                          The food that grocery stores throw away is amazing. Meats, canned goods, produce, bread and so forth. I know this from having to go from store to store looking for donations for the meals. Though some of the stores gave to local charities, if you were not on the list, you were not generally allowed to take stuff out. The dumpsters out back of stores are now being locked to keep folks out of pulling stuff out. It is an absolute sin.                                                                                             I think a large part of the problem with the food stamp program is corporations taking the lions portion of the share. Each state is in charge of their food stamp program. I dont hear much about this in the press. Xerox had a computer glitch a couple of weeks back causing chaos in the system. Xerox is but one, JP Morgan is another as is Northrop Grumman. These guys collectively take 10's of millions out of the program. I think it would be better if they got out of the issuance of plastic cards and go back to standard vouchers like they had in the past. Corporations are skimming yet again. An extraction.  

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