Local Family Reacts to Billions of Dollars of Food Assistance Program Cuts

By: Carly Stephenson Email
By: Carly Stephenson Email

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- People across the country who qualify for SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps, will get less money.

This comes after extra money from the stimulus package ran out.

Five billion dollars worth of cuts went into effect on Friday.

The O'Neils are a family of three with a small child, and they say $153 a month isn't enough.

Now they'll have to cut back a little more to make it to the end of the month.

Kristen O'Neil got a letter warning her about cuts made to SNAP.

"We get help from family and we still run out of food by the end of the month," said Kristen O'Neil.

She's already thinking of items she won't be able to put in her grocery bags.

"We normally get chicken and hamburger but we might have to cut one of those out, I don't know, soda," said Kristen O'Neil.

They usually spend their allowance in one week.

With the holidays coming up, those meals are being taken off the table.

"We might be looking to go out for dinner for Thanksgiving. Nobody has the money to cook a turkey or pay for a turkey," said Kristen O'Neil.

"Beg and borrow from family that are also struggling but because of their big heart you know and you're family they help you anyway," said Terry O'Neil.

With Congress discussing different versions of the Farm Bill, more cuts could come.

"I don't think they need to cut it more than it already is so they might want to think twice about that," said Kristen O'Neil.

The Senate's version of the bill would cut about $400 million from it.

The House version of the bill would cut $4 billion yearly.

Political Analyst David McQuilkin said Republicans want to separate food stamps from agricultural programs.

"They're going to have a hard time convincing the Senate to separate the two entities," said McQuilkin.

With the stimulus money running out, McQuilkin said the economy still has a ways to go.

"It's going to be another five years before we really get outside the economic woes we're suffering right now," said McQuilkin.

"Stay strong, help family, help friends, do what you can to help each other," said Terry O'Neil.

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