Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, are being
keenly felt in Nevada. Clyde Takahashi with the Food Bank of Northern
Nevada said his organization has seen many new faces since the 5
percent benefit reduction took effect in November.
“In November, we saw a real increase, a sudden increase, in
participation. And it wasn’t the people that we routinely service, it
was a whole bunch of new faces,” Takahashi said.
According to Takahashi, there is no doubt that reduction in federal
benefits has created more need. The SNAP cuts total about $36 per
month for a family of four. Takahashi said it may not sound like much
to most people, but it can mean many lost meals for those living on
the edge of hunger.
There could be even deeper cuts to the nutrition program, as Congress
is considering trimming several billion dollars from SNAP, he warned.
Takahashi said he sees it as the government basically shifting the
responsibility of feeding the hungry onto nonprofit agencies that
already are struggling, adding that Nevada’s children are likely to
suffer the most.
“Half of SNAP benefits go to children. In our state, one in four
children don’t have enough food that they need. Those are staggering
numbers already, so when you look at things getting worse, it’s really
scary,” he said.
SNAP is a major component of the Farm Bill. The last five-year Farm
Bill ended in September. A major sticking point to passing new
legislation has been political gridlock over the SNAP funding cuts.
The Senate approved legislation cutting $4 billion over a decade,
while the House approved cutting about $40 billion from the program.
There are reports that Congress may be close to reaching a compromise
of around $8 billion in cuts over 10 years.