By: Brie Nurse
The new Farm Bill of 2014, passed by Congress in February,was met with mixed emotions across the U.S. It decreases SNAP benefits, commonly known as food stamps, by $8.6 billion dollars. This is nearly a $4 billion dollar decrease from cuts made last November.
Around 1.7 million families are each expected to lose around $90 per month in SNAP benefits under the new law.
Emergency food pantries across the nation felt the wave of pressure to help provide food for low income families the last time cuts were made, and they're anticipating the same this time around.
Harvest Hope Food Bank spokesman Skott Garrick says anytime there is a decrease in supplemental government funding, they see an influx of low income families come to them for assistance.
"With a reduction of SNAP benefits, folks are having a harder time providing food for their tables, providing meals for their families, and so yes, they do have to look for alternatives. One of those alternatives is coming to Harvest Hope food bank so that we can provide food for them as they try to recover from that loss and figure out how to move forward," Garrick says.
Another part of the law allows families to use $1 of SNAP money to buy $2 in produce at farmer's markets. The program is already in effect in some states and lawmakers anticipate a profit of a around $131 billion.
Senn Brothers, located at the South Carolina Farmer's Market is looking to join in on the program. Employee Robert Moore hopes the move will bring a profit to the business for a good cause.
"It is something we've made contact with the people to get the gears rolling to get in with those programs so of course the more money that those people come out here and spend will be a great thing for everybody on the farmer's market." Moore Says.
He also hopes the program will give families an incentive to eat healthier foods.