Bitter cold and aid cuts putting pressure on families and food banks

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California University of Pennsylvania student Rob Putaro volunteering at a local food pantry in November. Photo by Jeff Helsel via Flickr user SAIatCalU, used under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Bone-chilling weather and changes to a major federal food program have made things tougher than they would otherwise be for struggling families and the food banks that assist them. As Eliza Barclay writes for NPR’s The Salt,

Anti-hunger organizations say the unusually low temperatures are sending heating bills through the roof, cutting into the food budgets of many families struggling to get by. That means food pantries are bracing for more hungry people from their communities coming through the door in the weeks to come….

[Ken] Kupchick [of the River Valley Regional Food Bank in Arkansas] says that ever since some of the funds for food stamps that went to families in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program expired in November, the pantries his group supplies have seen a 6.5 percent increase in the number of clients coming in.

“It may not sound like a lot, but those cuts came at a bad time, when families really need a boost in food budget because of Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Kupchick says.

Ross Fraser, spokesman for the national organization Feeding America, says food banks all over the country are stretched pretty thin, but it’s the ones in rural areas that are really struggling to serve a far-flung population of hungry people.

For more, check out the full post here.

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