Thousands of Northlanders risk losing lifeline

By KBJR News 1

September 17, 2013 Updated Sep 17, 2013 at 10:42 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The SNAP program - formerly known as food stamps - is on the chopping block in Washington as Congress considers millions of dollars in cuts.

If Congress cuts the SNAP program a recent study shows 40,000 Minnesotans would no longer have basic food assistance.

The study by the Budget Project Director found that SNAP kept four million Americans out of poverty last year.

"I don't like it because everybody deserves to have a good meal," said Cheryl Holmi, whose son uses SNAP.

Those who use the SNAP program say while food shelves are very valuable there are things their families need that they can't get there.

"You don't get milk at food shelves; you need the food stamps for some stuff," Holmi said.

It's hard to say how cuts to the SNAP program, formerly known as food stamps, will impact Minnesota families. They could be affected at different levels, but it certainly shows that there could be less bread on the table.

"You're trying to pay your bills, so it's bills or food on the table. Then they'll be coming to places like here," Holmi said.

"It is going to be chaos," said Larry Gainey who uses SNAP assistance. "It helps a lot of people in the community that don't get paid as much as others do."

Food bank operators say they know they can't feed the hungry on their own.

They're asking Congressman Rick Nolan to do what he can to block the cuts.

"We're taking action that way with advocacy and we're asking others in the community to do the same thing," said Shaye Morris, with the Northern Lakes Food Bank.

The Northern Lakes food bank is looking for more sources to provide them with food as they prepare for the potential cuts.

If Congress moves to reduce the SNAP program funding the cuts could come as early as February.

The U.S. House will vote on Thursday.

Ramona Marozas