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Religious Leaders: We Can’t Fill SNAP Gap

U.S. Department of Agriculture

This Friday, Floridians who rely on food stamps will have to tighten their belts even further. That’s because SNAP -- the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- is set to shrink when money from a stimulus bill expires. Some say charities will fill the gap, but a group of Southern religious leaders say they’re not sure they can help.

Religious leaders across the South say the reduction of SNAP benefits corresponds with an increase in demand. Russell Meyer is the Executive Director of the Florida Council of Churches.

“Florida is undergoing a tremendous impact in unemployment. And as you see in the stats that were shared, a 130-percent increase in SNAP recipients since the recession,” Meyer said.

Meyer says while experts say the state’s economy is turning around, the state’s lowest-income citizens aren’t seeing that bounce back. Beyond the SNAP funding reduction which takes effect Friday, Congress is also working out the details on the farm bill. The U.S. House version of the bill would cut nearly $40-billion in SNAP funding, which could leave some needy Floridians with no benefits at all.

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Regan McCarthy is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

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