Food stamp budget cuts mean budget woes for East Texans - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Food stamp budget cuts mean budget woes for East Texans


One in seven East Texans might have to re-evaluate their budget as effects from the recently signed farm bill set in. That bill was signed in to law Friday and cuts 800 million dollars, each year, from the food stamp program. Officials say cuts won't just hurt families who rely on the program.

Shakalah Cravens knows the struggle of grocery shopping on a tight budget.

"Try not to eat as much and then when I grocery shop I try to get off brand and then make a list and use coupons and stuff," Cravens said.

She has two young children and relies on the food stamp program to feed her family, so when she heard the bill would cut about 90 dollars each month from her benefits, she was concerned.

"I didn't think it would be that much," she admitted. "I didn't think the cut would be that much."

But, once she saw the cut she knew it meant tightening the budget elsewhere.

850,000 households rely on food stamps nationally. Nearly 25,000 people receive them in Smith County.

About 17,000 use them in Gregg County. Another 6,000 have them in Van Zandt. The change means about 34 lost meals per month for each household and families aren't the only ones effected.

"When you have government policies that change it definitely will cause an increase," Chantel Millin, with The Salvation Army, said.

The cut will push more people to their pantry.

"I mean we have a food pantry for people who need that assistance, so it's going to be a lot more people who are going to need that assistance now that food stamps are being cut," she explained.

A 200 million dollar increase in financing for food banks is also part of the bill, but Millin worries that won't offset the major cut.

"Just more money I have to spend out of pocket," Cravens said.

Change out of a pocket not so full. That bill does benefit farmers by increasing benefits to farmers across the country.

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