An estimated 700,000 Americans nationwide will be affected by the Trump administration’s plan to cut SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, also known as food stamps.
The change, which includes work requirements for benefits, is coming in April, however Missouri will not feel the effects, because legislators in Jefferson City passed restrictions on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families a few years ago.
Senate Bill 24 from 2015 was initially vetoed by former Gov. Jay Nixon, but both the Senate and House overturned his veto.
The law went into effect at the beginning of 2016, reinstating work requirements for TANF. There were a few other parameters inside the law, such as approving a “lifetime limit” of 45 months, except for “minor children and those families who have been granted a hardship exemption.”
Second Harvest Community Food Bank manages food pantries in 19 counties in Northwest Missouri. Last year, it distributed 8.6 million pounds of food.
Chad Higdon is the chief executive officer.
“In terms of the amount of support that families really received from the (United States Department of Agriculture) and some of the federal programs — that’s really just a fraction of what’s out there to help people in need,” Higdon said.
Second Harvest manages mobile food pantries, which go to 21 different locations every month to help people who are food insecure.
“We’re implementing some software to better understand who’s accessing the pantries,” Higdon said. “We really want to better understand the needs of the individuals we’re trying to serve, because I think the better we understand their needs, the better we can provide that service.”
Second Harvest gave out nearly 1,000 turkeys the week before Thanksgiving, called “Super Turkey Day,” and for the first time held a “Christmas Wing-Ding Day” to provide Christmas dinner for individuals who applied for help.
The Crossing’s Nutrition Center, located on Seventh Street south of Downtown St. Joseph, provides food for 800 families on average every week.
Individuals and families arrive at 10:30 a.m., fill out information and then wait to receive groceries from volunteers.