Community Health
11:56 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Reduced SNAP Funding Affecting Texas Food Banks Heading Into Holiday Season

Federal cuts to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, which is commonly known as food stamps, are taking their toll on needy Texans and food banks all across the state.

The expiration of a $5 billion supplemental stimulus package is the cause for the decrease, which has hit some of the neediest Texans just before the Holiday season, affecting more than 3 million families. The timing of the decrease has also hit food banks.

Texas Health and Human Services’ Linda Edwards Gockel said South Texas is the most affected area of the state, which is primarily because the Rio Grande Valley has the highest concentration of Texans receiving assistance from the SNAP food benefits program.

Edwards Gockel said about 30 percent of residents in that area get SNAP food benefits.

Sarah LeStrange with the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas said they’ve seen an uptick in a need for their services.

"Over the last 12 months the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas has distributed more than 29 billion pounds of food, and that’s up 7 billion pounds from the year before," LeStrange said.

LeStrange said food banks are concerned the need will be even greater as it relates to the decrease in food stamp benefits. She said the federal government is the biggest partner for fighting hunger and any cut  is too much for Texas families especially a cut occurring just before the Christmas holidays.