Food Stamp cuts means pinching pennies for some families

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Updated: Fri, 01 Nov 2013 06:49:28 CST

For millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet things just got a little tougher.

Cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, took effect today.

"The sooner I can get out of this program the better. I would rather be working and providing for my family." Said Travis Lear, a SNAP user.

Travis Lear is a full time father, a full time student and somewhere in there he works a part time job.

Since starting classes at Central Community College in Hastings, Lear has been on food stamps or SNAP.

As of Friday he took a $15.00 benefits cut, but he says he's used to pinching pennies. He's learned to budget wisely, feeding his family on $105 a week, so he's not expecting the decrease in funds to hurt too much.

"You only get so much a month and you have children that rely on you for certain needs and stuff like that, therefore you can't sway with it." Said Lear.

The cuts are a result of the expiration of the 2009 Recovery Act, enacted to help people during the recession.

Those November 1 cuts have places like the Crossroads Center in Hastings scrambling as they prepare for what they think will be an influx of people in need of just a little extra help.

"We always prepare for an increase coming off the streets and especially in the cold weather, we prepare our meals to provide for a larger group of individuals not just the folks here at the shelter." Said Josh Randall, Crossroads Hastings Site Manager.

The program lost 5 billion dollars in funding overnight. Some people losing out more than others.
While Lear says he can still manage with what he's left with, he admits he couldn't manage with nothing at all.

"I probably wouldn't be able to go to school. I would probably have to work a minimum wage job the rest of my life." Said Lear. 

There may be more cuts in store for food stamps. Senate Democrats have suggested $4.5 billion, and House Republicans say slash it even more. They want $40 billion.