BLOOMSBURG — Food banks in our area are bracing for greater need starting this Friday.
We told you Monday that the federal government plans to cut some funding for the food stamp program. Nearly two million Pennsylvanians stand to get less money.
We talked to volunteers at a food pantry in Bloomsburg about the potential impact there.
The Bloomsburg Food Cupboard helps feed more than 500 families a week in Columbia County. Some are on food stamps; many are not.
But with the federal government planning to cut the amount food stamp recipients get per month, this place expects regular customers to need more help and families who don’t come here now to start.
“For a family of four, it’s a loss of $36 which doesn’t seem like that much until you quantify it in terms of food and this could be the difference for those families,” said Martha Sheehe.
Food cupboard coordinator Martha Sheehe says the pantry is preparing to help however it needs to, if those on food stamps realize their monthly allowance isn’t enough.
“I always say this isn’t rocket science. This is rationing. We’ll ration for as long as we can and then we’ll yell ‘Help!'”
And she says the Bloomsburg community always answers when this place has more need.
“They are very generous to us. We have local businesses that give on a weekly basis, give to the point that we have excess and give multiple times during a week,” said food cupboard worker Gail Shifflett.
Those who rely on the food cupboard count on those donations and certainly hope the food stamp cuts don’t cause extra strain here.
James McCullough is responsible for feeding his grandchildren.
“This place is tremendous and the people who run it they need medals from God.”
“It’s a big assistance. I’m glad they have it,” said another person.
Volunteers say those in need shouldn’t worry. They say these food stamp cutbacks actually come at a good time.
“That’s the good thing about this, at Thanksgiving and Christmas people are very generous. Schools have food drives, offices have food drives so in terms of supply, grocery stores have good sales, this is a good time of year for us to stock up,” Sheehe said.
“We seem to always have enough. The oil jar doesn’t seem to run dry,” Shifflett added.
Congress could prevent these cuts to the food stamp program if it takes action to stop it by the end of the week, but that doesn’t look likely.
It is all part of the farm bill currently being debated in Washington.