The struggle to put food on the table for more than half a million Coloradans will get that much harder starting in November.
The struggle to put food on the table for more than half a million Coloradans will get that much harder starting in November. People receiving SNAP benefits, commonly referred to as food stamps, will see an average $29-a-month reduction because of the expiration of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Adding to the concern of such people as Kathy Underhill, executive director of Hunger Free Colorado, are proposals by Congress to further cut SNAP benefits through the Farm Bill. "Some of the folks in D.C. are not concerned about the most basic of human needs - which is food - for their constituents," Underhill charged. "In the presence of hunger, not a lot else matters. If I am worried about what I'm going to feed my kids tonight, that's all I can think about." To prevent the cuts from taking place, Congress will have to act quickly when it returns from its August recess. A report just released from Colorado Fiscal Institute estimates SNAP recipients will have $1.40 to spend per meal starting in November. Underhill said less money for groceries will make it more difficult for people to make healthy food choices, since fruits, vegetables and lean meats typically cost more than processed foods. "I may know very well what the healthy choice is for my family, but if my goal is to have my kids go to bed with full bellies I'm going to pick those two boxes of mac and cheese, every time," she declared. Kathy White, deputy director of the Colorado Fiscal Institute, said a reduction in SNAP benefits could affect the entire Colorado economy because statewide the cuts amount to a $55 million loss for 2014 alone. "It affects more than just the families who are purchasing the food with that benefit," she pointed out. "I mean, if you really think about all of the jobs that go from farm to grocery store to table, all of that chain of economic activity is affected when SNAP benefits are cut." Nationwide, the SNAP benefit cuts scheduled to start Nov. 1 will affect 47 million Americans, including 22 million children. The Colorado Fiscal Institute Report is at tinyurl.com/l5nzf2k.