SNAP Program Faces Big Budget Cuts

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BATH, N.Y. (18NEWS) –Community leaders voice concern because SNAP food stamp funding has been cut twice in the past three years,  and now faces drastic cuts both in eligibility and benefits.

Local community leaders are speaking out today as congress discusses the possibility of cutting the SNAP program by 35 percent.

The supplemental nutrition assistance program offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities.

It is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net and Bath resident Michelle Ritter said her daughter Sarah who is pregnant with her first child, struggles to eat even one meal a day.

“I didn’t realize the gravity of how serious this was until I went into their home,” said Michelle Ritter. “I looked through their refrigerator and looked through their cupboards and found no food whatsoever.”

Ritter said all of her daughter’s salary goes towards paying her monthly bills, and food is a second afterthought to making ends meet.

Sarah represents just one of the 14,000 living in Steuben county who are food insecure and battling hunger.

Community and public relations manager of the Food Bank Of The Southern Tier, Jonathan Fuller, said the proposed cut funding is creating a bigger problem, not a solution.

“If folks don’t have jobs and if folks need to help them cutting the program doesn’t solve anything,” said Fuller. “It just creates a larger problem and frankly things like the mobile food pantry we cannot continue to grow and pick up that slack it’s just too much for us.”

Fuller said the pressure this proposed cut would place on small non-profits like the Southern Tier Food Bank, are not sustainable.

The group is urging congress to find a real solution to the issues at hand.

WETM 18 News will be exploring the issue of hunger in the Southern Tier in a report in early May, 2015.

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