Proposed cuts in SNAP program have some concerned

MARSHALL – Western Community Action anticipates increasing service at the food shelf as a result of projected food stamp program cuts but remains confident of their ability to serve their clients.

The House of Representatives voted to cut $39 billion over 10 years from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) on Sept. 19, and while the Senate approved much smaller reductions and the White House has threatened to veto any substantial cuts, WCA is considering the consequences of deep cuts.

The Kitchen Table Food Shelf is open three days per week and serves 600 families in a 20- 25-mile radius of Marshall, according to Margaret Palan, community resource coordinator with WCA’s Marshall office.

“Families who get the minimum SNAP benefits of $16 per month may see a reduction of three to four dollars,” Palan said. “I think it’ll increase our services, but if it’s a 10 to 12-dollar-per month difference a lot of people are going to panic. But I’d like some of them to look at their food choices.”

Palan pointed out there are free meals offered such as those that Esther’s Kitchen serves every Thursday at Christ United Presbyterian Church, and food distribution through Ruby’s Pantry, hosted by Holy Redeemer Church the first Thursday of every month at the National Guard Armory.

For a donation of $15 a family receives an abundant amount of grocery items.

WCA sponsors cooking classes to teach clients how to prepare more nutritious meals for less money, and has volunteers to help with food choices at the food shelf.

WCA receives an average of 30,000 pounds of “rescue food” from local groceries every month, food that is close to use-by date but still good.

“There is no food in this town that goes to waste,” Palan said. “I’m concerned because it’s going to make an adjustment for our families, but I’m confident that we’ll be able to serve through means of teaching better shopping choices and cooking classes.”

Palan described volunteering and donations in the area as “over-the-top.”