Brief: Food stamp reduction could cause stress on local food bank

CNJ staff

Some cupboards might be more bare this winter with food stamp reductions set to kick in across the state this month.

Cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, total $5 billion nationally. Federal officials say through next September, the cuts will mean a loss of $47 million for food going to 442,000 New Mexicans.

Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico Executive Director Melinda Joy Pattison said while the food bank has not yet seen any cuts in funding, the local need for food will continue to grow with or without cuts to SNAP.

“It will increase our production trying to meet the need,” Pattison said of the cuts. “The basic premise is not going to change. The need never, ever goes away.”

Pattison also said the food bank is in constant fundraising mode in an attempt to counteract the ill effects of SNAP funding cuts. She said monetary donations are needed just as much as food donations.

The local food bank serves more than 2,000 households monthly, and nearly 500 children weekly through its school backpack program.

— The Associated Press contributed to this story

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