Feed-A-Friend Families Facing Food Stamp Cuts

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Friday morning, families started registering for Thanksgiving meals made possible, in part, from your donations to WNEP's Feed-A-Friend program.

Those families may have more on their minds now, since many of them have also had their food stamps cut.

Families in the Scranton area could start registering for Feed-A-Friend Thanksgiving baskets Friday at the United Neighborhood Centers' building on Olive Street.

Officials at UNC said since families who receive food stamps are having their benefits cut this month, they're expecting to see faces they've never seen before registering for Thanksgiving meals.

There's a lot of work and planning on the part of volunteers and employees from United Neighborhood Centers before they hand out thousands of Thanksgiving baskets at the end of November each year in Scranton.

The first step is getting families to register for Feed-A-Friend. A few dozen families signed up on the first day at the UNC office on Olive Street in Scranton.

That's where Newswatch 16 met a woman from Scranton who has been receiving Feed-A-Friend Thanksgiving baskets for the past three years. She's had her food stamp benefits nearly eliminated and just lost her job. But she is not expecting an increase in food stamps, since the federal government cut back benefits for 47 million Americans.

So, the woman said, programs like WNEP's Feed-A-Friend are more necessary this year.

"I buy more than I'm supposed to in food so that it will last the whole month. I go on a budget," she said. The woman did not want to be identified.

Jill Moyle from United Neighborhood Centers said families preparing for fewer food stamps have been using UNC's food pantry. She thinks the cuts will affect Feed-A-Friend too.

"I definitely feel that it will, I think we'll probably see more new faces than we have in the past. A lot of families who have never needed our services before are now coming through our doors," said Moyle.

Officials from United Neighborhood Centers said though the need may be greater they can only serve so many families, about 2,500, with Feed-A-Friend baskets.

Families in Lackawanna County can register through November 22.