The 3.6 million Floridians who receives food stamps from the state, will see a reduction in benefits in November.
According to the Orlando Sentinel on Oct. 22, cuts in the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) will begin on Nov. 1. The cuts in the food stamp program is the result of an end to the federal stimulus spending that boosted the state's food stamp program.
The amount of cuts will vary from family size, income and expenses. For example, a family of four will receive $36 less each month, which will total out to $432 less in food stamps per year.
Robin Peterson, an Orlando resident who works full time while raising four grandchildren, told the Sentinel that she was upset to hear about the food stamp cuts. She told the Sentinel:
How can they justify cutting the amount of food stamps when the cost of food is going up? Between rent, utilities, car payment and insurance, if I didn't get food stamps, we'd be at the food pantries every week.
Dave Krepcho, who is the president and CEO of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, told the Sentinel that families like Petersen's are the main recipients of food from Second Harvest. He told the Sentinel:
The current situation is no gravy train. At the current level, generally, food stamp benefits last two and a half to three weeks, and then you have to seek help elsewhere or go hungry.
According to the Sentinel, Second Harvest and other charity food banks in the state are worried that they will struggle to keep up with demand because of the cuts. Second Harvest has had to increase its distribution by 34 percent.
The Florida Department of Children and Families, who is in charge of the food stamp program, is bracing for a flood of calls from families who will be caught if guard by the cuts.