Local pantries slammed as food stamp benefits drop - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Local pantries slammed as food stamp benefits drop

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(Toledo News Now) -

As of Friday, 1.8 million Ohioans will see their food stamp benefits drop.

Advocates say the poor are going to be hurt and food banks like the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank will be slammed. The food bank distributes food to 300 agencies in eight counties, including day care centers, food pantries, senior centers and soup kitchens.

"We're going to need to have more food in order to distribute it to clients," said Laurie Cohen of the food bank.

The 2009 economic stimulus bill temporarily boosted the federal food stamp program for its 48 million nationwide recipients. The boosted benefits expired midnight Thursday, resulting in automatic 5.5 percent cuts to monthly distributions.

For a family of four, it's a cut of about $36.00.

"I think it's a shame," Cohen said. "Hunger is something that can be solved in our country and that's what we're here for."

Deacon Tom's Pantry at the Historic Church of St. Patrick receives supplies from the food bank. One of the regular weekly 250 clients there is Damien Porter.

"It helps me very well," Porter said. "What I don't have at home, it helps me get more food to eat."

Pantry volunteers worry their shelves may go bare, so they'll have to cut down on portions.

"Normally, we try to give them enough for three meals," said Mary Kay McPartlin, from the pantry. "Today, we've been able to give them enough for one meal."

The Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank needs help. The agency is now accepting not only food donations, but financial contributions. Visit their website for information on how to donate.

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Copyright 2013 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.

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