NEW ORLEANS - Thousands of families in Louisiana on Friday saw a reduction in the aid they received through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP.
A temporary boost to federal benefits including food stamps was put in place as part of the so-called Stimulus Package. That increase expired Friday.
In Louisiana, roughly 388,000 households receive food stamps. Michael Cantor with Second Harvest Food Bank says depending on the number of people in a family, a household could see reductions ranging from $11 to $43 each month.
"That's equivalent to three or five day’s worth of food for many of these families, and that's significant. Many of those people will need more help, and unfortunately we can't meet the need" said Cantor.
Second Harvest Food Bank and the many agencies it partners with have been dealing with increased demand for assistance since the recession and now a slow moving recovery. Arletta Terrell with the Kenner Food Bank says despite the stereotypes surrounding food stamps, the true face of need lately is the working poor. Donations, they say, aren't keeping up with the demand for help.
"We had seven new clients this morning, just today. Until you lose a job, until you get hurt and can't pay for medical bills, you probably won't be able to relate to somebody on food stamps or coming and knocking on our door," said Terrell.
One client at the Kenner Food Bank didn't want to have her last name used, but Linda did want to share her frustrations.
"I was a nurse for 35 years. I got disabled and my husband is a disabled veteran. Our checks are not big and so now we have to hit all the food banks as much as we can to survive," said Linda.
Linda was told between her husband's disability check and her own check, the couple did not qualify for food assistance. She says as the holidays near, she'll need more help feeding her family. She's not alone. The food banks are in need of more donations as well.