Farm bill passage cuts food stamps and increases local assistance for food banks

Farm bill passage cuts food stamps and increases local assistance for food banks
Source: Monica Grimaldo/KPLC
Source: Monica Grimaldo/KPLC

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It may be called a farm bill but the new legislation may mean trouble for food stamp recipients and more work for anti-hunger advocates.

"More people are going to seek out programs like this to support their families," said Lake Charles food stamp recipient Bryant Victor. "It's going to continue to hurt families and the kids and it's going to hurt a lot of people in general."

The farm bill, which was signed by President Obama on Friday, is expected to have an $8 billion reduction in food stamp spending over a 10-year period. United Way of Southwest Louisiana's Director of Community Impact Michelle McInnis says she's already seeing a change.

"I do see people visiting our food banks more, our clothes closets, our hot meal places," said McInnis. "So, they're relying more heavily on those services."

The new legislation also means a change in certain United Way program funding.

"Our community investment team is really going to have to really look at the impact on all of our services," said McInnis. "It'll be a tough decision to make to have to narrow funding in another area and so it's going to take a really stringent process to evaluate each and every program based on those community needs."

McInnis does say Southwest Louisiana United Way is prepared.

"By doing the needs assessments with all of our partners in the area, keeping on top of the changes that's going on, being at the table when these changes are discussed, that's key to us moving forward and making these hard decisions."

United Way of Southwest Louisiana invests approximately $433,000 to hunger relief efforts in Southwest Louisiana through various initiatives and partnerships.

McInnis says Unite Way National has already narrowed focus on education, income and health for the community but she says they are committed to providing these safety net services and keep them as available to as many people as possible.

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