By CLINT FOSTER
In two weeks, most Americans will sit down with their families to a hearty, warm meal with a large turkey in the middle of the table before retiring to the couch to cheer on their football team of allegiance. But for every household that does not have to bat an eye at the thought of eating such a meal, there a countless more families in need that struggle to put food on the table any given day.
Locally, food banks like New Haven Helping Hands strive to combat this problem.
On Nov. 1, a largely unpublicized cut of the federal food stamp program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) went into effect.
According to a report from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the irreversible change has caused a large chunk of the monthly food budgets for four million Texans to disappear overnight, equating to 180 million meals being lost off of Texas tables.
The cut is the result of an end to food stamp benefits that were part of the Recovery Act from 2009. Congress voted to end the boost in 2010, but three years later the economy is still struggling and there has been little change in the number or rate of Americans living in poverty, according to the report. Because of the cut, $411 million in will be lost in federal aid over the next 11 months, leading a Texas family of four to lose an average of $36 a month in food aid. Families of less than four will lose between $1 and $29, depending on size, and for each family member more than four, households will lose an additional $10.
With these changes to the food stamp program in full swing, Helping Hands in Mineral Wells hopes to increase its ability to serve, through new system and some help from friends, to meet the mounting need.