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Food Stamp Cutbacks Have Local Families Struggling

Photo Credit: KDKA

Photo Credit: KDKA

(Source: KDKA) Brenda Waters
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – There is 94,000 square feet of warehouse space at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and 27,000,000 pounds of food go in and out of the facility yearly.

Starting Friday, those supplies are going to go out much faster with the cuts to food stamp benefits.

“The impact over our 11 county service area is going to be devastated because of these cuts that are taking place,” Dennis McManus, of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, says.

The food bank supplies 400 pantries and kitchens.

One of them is North Side Common Ministries.

Volunteers loaded up carts for those in need of food, about 1,500 a month.

Jay Poliaiani, of North Side Common Ministries, says people are truly struggling.

“The folks we are seeing on a regular basis are really struggling to make ends meet. If it’s a choice between the electric bill and food, they are going to be coming here more frequently for additional resources,” he says.

Gale Johnson, 53, left with six bags of groceries to help feed the four people in her family.

“How do you see yourself cutting back in terms of food? We eat a lot of meat and milk. It’s cutting all of that back. I have to do lesser now than I was doing then,” she says.

Nearly 2,000,000 people in Pennsylvania use food stamps.

Nearly half of those people are children.

Food stamps help 43-year-old Dana Schneider feed her family of six.

“I’m upset about it because I’m robbing Peter, Paul or robbing a bill to make up the difference. So it’s going to affect me paying a bill probably,” she says.

So what does this look like at the dinner table every month?

A family of three will see $29 less a month or 16 fewer meals.

A family of four will lose $36 a month or 21 fewer meals.

Pantries are already struggling to keep up with the need. and now, that will only increase.

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