How will the $5 billion cut to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP - or food stamps) affect Washington? According to a breakdown by the Stateline, the daily news service of the Pew Charitable Trust, the impacts will be as devastating as you’d expect. It’s something to think about over Thanksgiving next week.
According to a new interactive state-by-state map created by Stateline, there are over 1.1 million projected recipients of SNAP in Washington for fiscal year 2014, which is 16-percent of the population. In 2012, the average SNAP benefit per household was $242. Taking effect Nov. 1, the SNAP cuts trimmed $114 million in federal money coming to Washington for the program, which according to Stateline will affect 456,000 children and 234,000 elderly and disabled people.
Obviously, cutting money for SNAP has serious impacts on the families that depend on food stamps, but businesses will also feel the squeeze. Reporting from Belvidere, Ill., NPR notes:
Countryside Market manager Craig Schultz says that in a community still grappling with high unemployment, many of his customers rely on the food assistance program to get by.
Countryside is not sure yet just how much the reduction in benefits has cut into their bottom line. But over time, the store says sales might fall between 5 and 10 percent. While that plays out, Schultz wonders if they will sell fewer turkeys this year: “Hopefully not, because I have a whole freezer full of ‘em.”
You can find a list of Seattle-area food banks here. Given the SNAP cuts, if you’re feeling charitable a donation this year would probably be even more appreciated than usual.