SNAP funding cuts to impact Texoma families and food banks

By: Morgan Downing Email
By: Morgan Downing Email

SHERMAN, TX -- There will soon be less money for food for many Texoma families who rely on SNAP, the federal food assistance program. Budget cuts are set to take effect this fall. As Morgan Downing reports, local food pantries will also struggle to serve more people in need.

"Right now, we're feeding an average of about 110 people every day," Grand Central Station Dining Car food manager, Ben Merrill, said.

"We're already feeling the impact," food bank volunteer, Sue Gudgel said.

Two separate organizations in Sherman have the same goal: to feed hungry Grayson County residents.

Volunteers at Grand Central Station Dining Car serve a hot meal six days a week, while those at the Key Memorial United Methodist Food Bank fill hundreds of sacks of food three times a week.

"It's been picking up a whole lot. We're getting anywhere from four to nine new ones each day we're open. And that's just in that last six to eight weeks," Gudgel said.

Sue Gudgel expects that number to grow on November 1st when temporary funding runs out.

That is when benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, will take an expected $5 billion cut in fiscal year 2014.

"We're gonna have more families. We're gonna have needier families, and they're going to need to come back more often, which we can't afford," Gudgel said.

Nearly 4 million hungry families in Texas will be affected along with more than 600,000 families in Oklahoma.

A household of four will take a $36 cut each month, about 5.5 percent of their grocery budget.

"The one thing I hate, I hate seeing the children that are in here because I want them to grow up and be healthy," Merrill said.

SNAP could also see up to $40 billion more cut over the next ten years based on farm bill legislation in Congress that removed SNAP. Lawmakers are expected to resume the SNAP discussion in the next session.

These Sherman programs say come November, they will need more assistance and both are hopeful that community donations will allow them to continue their work.

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