http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20131207/GPG0101/312070325/Pantries-see-spike-need-drop-food-stamp-programPantries see spike in need with drop in food stamp program
by Patti Zarling
Green Bay Press-Gazette
Dec. 7, 2013Food pantries seek donations as needs spike. Here,
volunteers Bob Peters and Helen Falk collect food for
the Green Bay Packers Women's Association Annual
Food Drive, before the Oct. 20 game against the
Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field./H. Marc Larson/
Cuts to the federal food stamps program mean cupboards are emptying sooner for low-income families, who now are turning to food pantries, organizers say.
Nearly 900,000 people — including 30,705 in Brown County — saw cuts to themonthly amount of aid they received to buy groceries in November. About 14,000 households in Brown County were affected, according to Jenny Hoffman, economic support administrator for Brown County Human Services.
The cuts to FoodShare program will total about $89 million in Wisconsin between Nov. 1, 2013, and Sept. 30, 2014. Nationally, the total reduction is estimated to be $5 billion during that same time period, the liberal think tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said last month.
A household of four with no income will see a $36 monthly cut, from $668 to $632, the center said. A single person will see a cut of $11, from $200 to $189 a month.
Local food pantries have seen use increase by about 9 percent a year over the past few years as people continue to struggle because of the economic slowdown, said Karen Early, nutrition education program coordinator for the Brown County University of Wisconsin-Extension. Pantry use has increased by about 37 percent from 2009 to 2012, she noted.
Last year, nearly 67,000 adults and 53,300 children received foodfrom more than 20 Green Bay-area pantries that make up the Brown County Food and Hunger Network. Paul’s Pantry, the region's largest food bank, has 4,000 registered households and serves 175 to 200 families five days a week.
The impact of cuts to food stamps will make the lines longer, said Dean Ahrens, president of the county Food and Hunger Network.