NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - The U.S. House of Representatives voted to cut $4 billion dollars each year from food stamps, and that has people who run and rely on local food pantries thinking about what this could mean for them.
It's unlikely that the cuts would go through, as the bill isn't expected to make it through the Democrat-controlled Senate, and President Obama has vowed to veto it even if it did.
Still, local food pantries have seen their budgets shrink in recent years, and a food stamp cut would force more families to rely on pantry services to feed them and their families.
“We're already feeding almost 5,000 people throughout Hampshire County of the course of a year,” said Heidi Norton Smith, the Executive Director of the Northampton Survival Center.
“Many of our clients are getting food stamps, but food stamps don't stretch particularly far. They don't feed people for that many days out of a month. If food stamps are slashed, then people will be even more reliant on our services, and it's very difficult for us to have enough money to provide for the need that exists right now.”
More than one in every seven Americans relies on the federal food stamp program.
In addition to making cuts, the House bill would also allow states to require many people to work before being eligible for food stamps, and also would allow for drug testing of applicants.