A Year After Deep Cuts to Federal Food Assistance Programs, America’s Nonprofit Food Banks Struggle To Fill The Gap

December 4, 2014

“The biggest resource constraints are food and funds,” Maura Daly, a spokesperson for Feeding America, the largest network of food banks in the country, says. “With the SNAP cuts and more people turning to them for food, either new people or people coming more frequently, that only exacerbates the already strained system.”

For struggling families, food tends to be one of the largest expenses but also an “elastic” one, according to Daly. She says 60 percent of more than 60,000 connected food pantries reported an increase in demand this year, and 36 percent say they don’t have enough food.

“You pay your utility bill and go without eating, or visa versa,” she says, noting that 70 percent of clients say their biggest trade-off was between food and utilities. “And that data was collected prior to SNAP cuts going into effect,” Daly says, noting that even before the cuts, most families receiving food from the network were also SNAP recipients who couldn’t stretch the benefits far enough. Now, based on anecdotal reports, she says many food banks are seeing an increase in recent months. “We’re feeding more people than ever before.”

Tags: Advocacy , Mississippi, New York , Food Bank For New York City
 

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