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Food stamps to possibly be cut off at end of month, local families affected

Updated: Tuesday, October 15 2013, 11:20 PM CDT
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-- or food stamps-- may be cut off at the end of the month. This was outlined in a letter sent out by the USDA to each state's commissioner agency director.
The USDA is asking states to hold off on their November issuance files, which will delay transmission to state electronic benefit transfer vendors until further notice. That means, no one will receive money to get food on the electronic benefits card.
Right here at Manna foods, they provide food for about 100 people every day. Last year they fed more 40,000 people.
But it's becoming difficult to keep the pantry full, and without snap benefits, they're facing an even bigger challenge.
Brenda Mathis has been receiving food stamps for as long as she can remember. Mathis is currently unemployed. She relies on food stamps to keep herself and two grandchildren full.  She can't begin to imagine what life would be like without them.
"I think it's going to be a catastrophe if it happens because a lot of people depend on it. A lot of people don't have jobs and all they do is get food stamps."
Right now-- Mathis is saving up on as much as she can, in case these benefits are taken away.
Considering how many people will be impacted by this, she believes the government will get its act together by the end of the month.
"I'd miss mine I’d certainly miss mine. I just don't know what I'll do, I really don't. But I'm putting my trust in God."
Food pantries like Manna Food Bank are already strapped because of the shutdown.  They believe donations are drying up because more people are worried about their own finances.
 Without SNAP benefits, staff here worry they won't be able to keep their shelves full.
Dede Flounlacker said, “Every day we need food to provide to the hungry... At a time when donations for food are down."
About 42 percent of the people Manna Food Bank sees are on food stamps. The rule they have here is, anyone not on food stamps can come to the pantry four times a year.  If you're on food stamps, you can come by twice a year. But the system may have to change in order to help those in need.
"If the benefits do get frozen... Potentially change the way we do business,"
said Flounlacker.
The Department of Children and Families was contacted about this. They could only say, they've been told by the USDA that SNAP is funded through the end of October. After that, it's unknown what will happen.
Food stamps to possibly be cut off at end of month, local families affected

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