Food stamp enrollment remains at record highs across the country. It is estimated that 47 MILLION people use food stamps each month to feed their families. Starting on November 1, 2013 there will be a nationwide reduction in the amount received.
Benefits are being reduced by about 5% beginning Nov. 1 for all of the nearly 47.7 million Americans on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. A family of four will receive $36 less each month because of the reduction, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A household of eight would see benefits reduced $65 a month. The average monthly benefit per household for all 50 states and the District of Columbia last year was $278.
Here are the numbers for Oklahoma:
The projected SNAP recipients in 2014 615,000
Percentage of population 16%
Average amount received per household $282
Total amount cut $66,000,000
#children affected 294,000
# elderly or disabled affected 116,000
So what does that mean in real day to day numbers? It means that food stamp recipients will have to try to feed themselves on about a $1.50 a meal. It can be done but not with healthy fresh foods.
Food stamps were created as a temporary help for needy families but with today’s economy many hard working families still need food stamps to make it through the month without going hungry. It is not just your urban poor that are on food stamps. There have been reports that from 100,000 to as many as 275,000 military families are eligible to receive food stamps. These are the men and women defending us, putting their very lives on the line and they can not feed their families back at home. Many of the people on food stamps DO work and report their wages but are still eligible for food stamps due to the low wages at their jobs.
Now for many the question will not be what to eat but are we going to eat today or pay the rent? These types of HARD decisions are being asked all across this country in many kitchens and could potentially lead to far reaching problems down the road. Hungry people or parents of hungry children will do what ever needs to be done to feed themselves and their children. A good example is what happened in Louisiana when food stamp cards stopped working for several hours. There was a run on local Walmarts and the shelves were stripped bare by people stealing food.
So how will this affect those of us who live a self sufficient lifestyle? We may see neighbors that we did not know we had knocking on our doors asking for handouts or we may just see an increase in home robberies. What can we do? We can keep our prepping secret as much as possible, we can donate to the stretched to the limit local food pantries if we can afford to or we can help others in way that would not put ourselves, our families or our supplies at risk. Food fairy anyone?
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