SNAP benefit cuts go into effect

KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Families relying on federal food assistance now have even less to spend at the grocery store.

Changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP, went into effect Friday.

A family of four now has $36 less to spend on food.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 added temporary funds to the SNAP program but the part of the law that added that money is now ending, that's according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Second Harvest Food Bank executive director Rhonda Chafin told us that the cuts mean someone receiving SNAP benefits only has $1.40 to spend for each meal.

"As an organization we know that that's not enough," said Chafin. "It's not enough for an individual or child or elderly person to be able to really make a meal."

Chafin told us 74,000 people in northeast Tennessee worry about where their next meal will come from.

The changes will effect most of those people, she said.

The cuts affect 47 million Americans, including 22 million children and 9 million elderly or seriously disabled people, according to the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities.

A Senate version of the next farm bill, which funds SNAP, could cut nearly $4 billion more during a 10 year period.

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