SNAP Cuts Strain Services At Jax Food Banks

Nov 19, 2013

About 1,000 local business and nonprofit leaders attended the annual Second Harvest Empty Bowls Luncheon Tuesday at the Prime Osborn Center. The Luncheon raises money for Second Harvest and awareness of the hunger problem in North Florida. The bowls are made by local students and seniors.
Credit Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Recent cuts in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is likely to create shortages at local food banks.

About 200,000 Duval County residents lost their benefits on November 1.

It’s a little over halfway through the month and Judith Nicholson is already feeling the effects of the cuts.

She and her 15-year-old daughter had their food stamps cut from $247 a month to $200.

Nicholson said it has made stretching the food budget more difficult.

“It’s hard to believe that $200 buys a little bit of meat, some fruit and juices, water and the necessities,"  she said.

Because the government money isn’t going as far as it used to, more people are expected to turn to local food banks.

Second Harvest is the area’s largest food bank working with more than 400 nonprofit agencies in 17 counties.

Executive Director Bruce Ganger said they’ll need more donations to try and meet the additional need.

“People that had money to buy food in the past, they would run out of that money by the back end of the month," he said. "Now what's happening is where going to start seeing them earlier in the month in a more sustained demand until next month's SNAP check arrives."

It’s estimated one out of every six adults and one in four children in North Florida are food insecure.

You can follow Kevin Meerschaert at @KMeerschaertJax.