Food stamp benefits trimmed for thousands of TN families - WSMV Channel 4

Food stamp benefits trimmed for thousands of TN families

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

If your family relies on food stamps, you may find yourself with fewer dishes on the table. The 2010 stimulus funds that boosted the supplemental food assistance program, or SNAP, ended Friday.

That means SNAP benefits will be cut for 100,000 Tennesseans who depend on the program to feed their families.

Food is expected to disappear from the shelves even faster than normal in the coming months at Second Harvest Food Bank in Nashville.

"We're anticipating a 20 percent to 30 percent increase in demand for our services over the next three or four months, and that's because of the SNAP changes and the approaching holidays, said Tasha Kennard, with Second Harvest.

One in six people, and one in four children, are at risk of going hungry in Tennessee.

Moving forward, a household of four will now be getting $632. That's a cut of $36 per month. Over a year's time, that's a $396 reduction in food stamps.

"That's a huge dent trying to put dinner on the table," Kennard said. "Thirty-six dollars is often several meals for a family for a week. If they don't have funding to purchase those meals, they are going to have to turn to us as well as other community programs who are working to feed hungry people."

Iola Avery, of Nashville, raised five kids with no government assistance.

"I went out and got a job and took care of them," Avery said.

Now that she's on a fixed income, the $34 a month she receives in food stamps is barely enough to buy any food at all. And now she will be getting $1 less.

"It's hard being low-income and not having enough money to buy food," Avery said.

So, she's having to get food from the Catholic Charities' Loaves and Fishes food giveaway program. But Avery is not worried about herself, she says she'll be fine. She's wondering about larger families having enough food to eat.

"Especially if there is a mother that can't work, or don't have a job, you can't make it without the food stamps," she said.

Even in her time of getting, she took time to give a little advice to a Cumberland University student who was volunteering at the food giveaway Friday.

"Be good in school. I know you will, and take care of yourself," Avery told the student, before giving him a hug.

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