LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Every year Food Finders Food Bank in Lafayette would be in the first week of its Drive Away Hunger food drive.
This year is like any other, the drive started on Saturday, but the need for food is different.
Executive Director Katy Bunder said the need grows in the winter months, but it will grow even more as cuts are coming to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
"The timing could not be worse," Bunder said. "Everybody likes to have plenty of food around for the holidays. Also, people are just beginning to pay heating bills. That takes away a lot of their income."
The $5 billion in food stamp cuts will go into effect Friday. In 2010, congress passed two bills that ended the increased SNAP benefits brought by the 2009 stimulus bill.
Lafayette Urban Ministry Director Joe Micon said more than 17,000 people in Tippecanoe County receive food stamps. The cuts will reduce the benefits by $3.5 million in the county.
"With a $3.5 million reduction in food into our community there is no way the Lafayette Urban Ministry, Food Finders, or any other food pantry in the community is going to be able to make up that kind of reduction," Micon said.
Bunder said at the first of the month when people get their SNAP benefits they'll go get groceries. Then, about two weeks later, when the food runs out, they'll come to the food bank for help. She said that time span will dwindle with the cuts.
"We're trying to tell people to be extremely generous now so we can help mitigate the effect of the cuts," Bunder said.
"Right now we are just planning our instructions to our staff at LUM and our volunteers, and part of those instructions are going to be that we are going to be seeing larger crowds of people earlier in the month," Micon said.
When the cuts are put in place, on average a household of one person will lose about $11 a month. A family of four will lose nearly $40.
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