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Cuts to Food Stamps Could Strain Local Food Pantries

Updated: Wednesday, January 29 2014, 10:28 PM CST

A near certain vote of approval in the Senate and a signature from President Barack Obama and the farm bill the House passed Wednesday becomes law. Within that bill is about $9 billion in cuts to food stamps over the next 10 years.

The cuts to food stamps will shave the budget by about one percent per year. This has many concerned that local food pantries will be picking up the difference, and food pantry services in Carlinville, Illinois are already in high demand.

"I was there once. I was able to give and pass it forward. Now I'm just really
grateful," Martha Buhl said while picking up her monthly allotment from
the pantry.

Buhl is one of the many individuals who’ve hit hard times and now rely on the Carlinville Food Pantry for help feeding her family. Even though organizers say the number of people who come here for help has been steadily increasing, the pantry has so far been able to send everyone home with about $40 worth of groceries a month thanks to community support.

"Carlinville is the most supportive, that's where we get most of our food and donations from," Board President of Good Samaritan Ministries Donna Eiffert said.

Eiffert notes, even though pantry volunteers pick up food commodities from other state or federally funded sources, community support is what really stocks the shelves. Soon those shelves could be facing even more demands.

At the same time families are thanking the food pantry for help, politicians in Washington are congratulating themselves on a bipartisan farm bill. The cuts to food stamps in that bill come from closing so called loopholes in the program and require more proof of need for some.

Many conservatives support cuts to food stamps, saying Congress is making
responsible decisions to lower the national deficit. Families who are struggling to get back on their feet feel differently.

"They need to think about this. Rethink it; remember those who don't have as much. Give that some thought," an emotional Buhl said.

Shop Local First, a community organization in Carlinville
will soon be kicking off a campaign to help the food pantry. They will be
partnering with local businesses to collect food donations and give out prizes
for donors. The Carlinville Food Pantry is always accepting cash or check

Cuts to Food Stamps Could Strain Local Food Pantries

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