Budget cuts in food stamps affecting Tri-State organizations

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The possible budget cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is leaving non-profit groups in fear that they will not be able to supply the growing needs of people with low incomes.

During the month of May, reports for Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky show nearly $36 million in benefits; however, the average family only collected about $135 in food stamps for the entire month.

Food pantries and ministries are often a supplement to help with additional food costs. More recently, John Eldridge with Isaiah House says ministries that help the poor are struggling.

"Non-profits are already cash strapped. We're already way, way overloaded as far as demand especially in the area of food," said Eldridge.

The Isaiah House distributes food to the poor in Northern Kentucky and Eldridge says he worries how cuts in food stamps will impact children.

"When you cut the food stamp program you're going to put parents in very difficult situations that where they have to make a choice," said Eldridge. He fears that parents will soon have to make the decision to pay essential bills or put food on the table for their children.

Other individuals in groups that help feed families agree.

Reverend Rick Groover with Celebration Church in Mason recently finished an outreach mission in Harlan, Kentucky and says the need for food just keeps growing.

"They are really just trying to hang on and when you pull up it's like a truck full of hope pulling up, you know, a busload of hope pulling up and this is more than a story. There are real people there, you know, that are contemplating, you know, putting a gun up to their head or something. They are struggling for life," said Groover.

Bernice Cooper, Vice-President of the Freestore Foodbank says the agency is willing to help with the struggle to survive, but it's becoming more and more difficult due to the rising costs of agricultural goods.

"The cost of food has gone up so purchasing food has become more difficult and donations are down," said Cooper.

As congress wrestles with the food stamp issue Cooper says she has a message for them.

"Please don't make families and children who are hungry a political football," said Cooper.

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