Food pantry: Steep cuts to food stamps will increase demand - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Food pantry: Steep cuts to food stamps will increase demand

Posted: Updated:
  • Most ReadMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Meridian's Bonnie Blue Dulaney crowned Miss Hospitality

    Meridian's Bonnie Blue Dulaney crowned Miss Hospitality

    Sunday, July 27 2014 12:42 AM EDT2014-07-27 04:42:42 GMT
    A Senior Mississippi State University biochemistry major from Meridian has been crowned Mississippi's Miss Hospitality for 2014. Bonnie Blue Dulaney, 21, won the Miss Hospitality Pageant in HattiesburgMore >>
    A Senior Mississippi State University biochemistry major from Meridian has been crowned Mississippi's Miss Hospitality for 2014.More >>
  • Sex allegations lead to investigation at PACE Head Start

    Sex allegations lead to investigation at PACE Head Start

    Friday, July 25 2014 7:52 PM EDT2014-07-25 23:52:45 GMT
    An interim agency will take over operations of the Forrest County PACE Head Start Program due to the failure of properly reporting sexual abuse allegations. The Administration for Children and FamiliesMore >>
    An interim agency will take over operations of the Forrest County PACE Head Start Program due to the failure of properly reporting sexual abuse allegations.More >>
  • Victim of Jackson gang rape sends warning to metro area women

    Victim of Jackson gang rape sends warning to metro area women

    Thursday, July 24 2014 12:04 AM EDT2014-07-24 04:04:58 GMT
    The victim of a vicious gang rape is warning other women in the metro area. The victim and her attorney talked about the attack exclusively with WLBT. The 35-year-old woman, whose identity we are protecting,More >>
    The victim, whose identity we are protecting, said, "He put the gun to my head and told me to take my clothes off.  And that's when I couldn't do nothing. I was just standing there crying. And the other dude came from behind the truck. He put one in my side. And they bent me over in my front seat and they started raping me over and over again."
    More >>
HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

A vote in Washington, DC Thursday was being closely watched around the country and especially in our state where one in every four Mississippians receives food stamps. The United States House of Representatives voted 217-210 to approve $39 billion worth of cuts to the SNAP program over the next 10 years.

The House bill would cut food stamps to 3.5 million Americans who don't have children and who are considered as able bodied adults. The proposed eligibility rules would require adults between the ages of 18 and 50 without minor children to either get a job or to enroll in a work training program in order to receive benefits. Those benefits would also be limited to three months. States would not be allowed to request waivers during times when unemployment numbers are high.

Volunteers at the Hancock County Food Pantry prepare bags of food five days a week for people whose incomes don't stretch very far.

WLOX spoke to a woman at the pantry receiving food. She didn't want to be identified, but said she doesn't like having to go to food pantries or receiving SNAP benefits. However, she feels she has no choice after being out of work for nearly a year.

"My son is 18 years old. He's been looking for work since he was 17. He's put in applications all the way through this town," she said. "We have to be on food assistance. I mean, what else are we going to do?"

Hancock County Food Pantry officials said 60 percent of people they help also receive food stamps.

"People that are working, age 18 to 59, are eligible to come in every 90 days for food. Of course, that doesn't last 90 days and it's not intended to," said Ed Catone, Executive Director. "We're supplementing their food stamps and their income. Seniors who are 60 years old and older can come in every 30 days."

"So we're thinking if the funding is cut and they get less food stamps, there may be a bigger demand for support from other sources," Catone said. "What we would do then, I don't know. We may have to consider changing that 90 day requirement to something less."

Volunteers said they don't know how they could handle an added demand for food. The Hancock County Food Pantry is run entirely by volunteers, and is not part of a government agency. It relies solely on donations.

"You only have so many resources. So you try to do the best you can with the resources that you have and feed those people that really need it as often as you can," said Catone.

Meanwhile, the woman who said she went back to college, but is still struggling to find a job said of possibly losing her food stamp benefits, "I don't know what we're going to do. And if Congress cuts it lower, that's not helping nobody here. There's so many people out of work. They'll starve. Literally."

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.