800 thousand Houston SNAP recipients lose money - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

800 thousand Houston SNAP recipients lose money

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"When your single you can do without," said SNAP recipient Maria Suarez.

We all share something in common with Suarez.

Fate doesn't play fair.

Soon after a job layoff, Suarez's father dies.

Before she knows it she's taking care of her mother, adult children that also became jobless and grandbabys.

"When it comes to groceries how do you say no," Suarez said.

Suarez represents the bulk of people turning to the Houston Food Bank.

Not lazy ne'r do wells but the recently unemployed or working poor.

"Two thirds of food insecure households have an adult with a full time job," said Brian Greene, president of the Houston Food Bank.

So whose getting food stamps?

According to 2011 statistics 45 million of the 300 million that made up the U.S. population were on food stamps.

Nationally almost 60 percent of food stamp recipients are white.

28 percent are African American.

"The average cut for a family of four will be about 36 dollars in food stamp benefits," Greene said. "That might not sound like a lot of money but 36 dollars is ten gallons of milk, 10 boxes of cereal."

The current reduction is due to wishful thinking on the governments' part.

Annual cost of living increases were suppose to take over the bump in pay food stamp users got in 2009 as part of the federal stimulus.

Well that didn't happen and now the government is taking the increase away giving families 5 percent less every month to buy food.

The fear?

Less money means some people will have to buy less nutritional food and more junk.

"About 60 percent of the people who are receiving food stamps are in fact children," Greene said.

Like the SNAP card the Food Bank and other pantries must limit the amount of food given to those in need .

Most pantries restrict the amount of times and food people can get each month.

"In the 18 counties served by Houston Food Bank this food stamp cut is the equivalent of shutting down two thirds of the Food Bank," said Greene.

There's no doubt the food stamp cuts means more and more people primarily the working poor will go hungry.

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