November SNAP benefits cut affecting food pantry's foot traffic - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

November SNAP benefits cut affecting food pantry's foot traffic

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Around 100,000 South Dakota receive SNAP benefits which supplements a person's food budget. 

But for some, it's their only money for food.

Back in November, SNAP benefits were cut nationwide. That means $36 less for a family of four every month.

And since then, the food pantry here in Sioux Falls has seen an increase in those who depend on the pantry to supplement their SNAP benefits and income.

The Farm Bill has finally been signed. Part of the compromise -- $8.5 billion cut from the SNAP Program.

But according to Feeding South Dakota Executive Director Matt Gassen, South Dakota's SNAP Program won't be affected.


"If you read through the highlights of the summaries of the Farm Bill, you find that $8.5 billion cuts to the SNAP Program primarily are going to affect 16 states that have a 'Heat and Eat' program," said Gassen.

Since South Dakota isn't a 'Heat and Eat' state, we will not feel the impact of the cuts.

"It's not like we avoided all cuts. We ended up taking that cut as a state back in November," said Gassen.

The cutbacks back in November have contributed to more shoppers at the pantry on the first through the twentieth of every month.

"And that is really related to SNAP benefits and the fact that SNAP benefits come out on midnight of the 9th. And so people that have used up their SNAP benefits before the new benefits come out are needing that additional food assistance. People don't come to the pantry because they like to come here. It's really not that way. It's a tough place to have to come. It's pretty humbling to have to come and take this food off the shelves and take it home to feed your family," said Gassen.

This increase in traffic at the food pantry means people from many different backgrounds are now using the service.

To get a better idea of what our neighbors with food insecurities are going through, KSFY News Reporter Tess Hedrick is walking a mile in their shoes.

That means she has a weekly grocery budget of $31.50 -- around the same amount she'd have if she received SNAP benefits.

She is now on day 8 and will finish next Monday.

To follow Tess's experience on the SNAP Challenge, click here


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