Food Bank prepares to help those impacted by new SNAP guidelines

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Ahead of next year’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program changes, local food banks are getting ready to fill the gap.

Taking the biggest hit from modifications to SNAP (or food stamps) are children and the elderly. That’s according to Middle Georgia Community Food Bank staff.

Staff members say they are concerned with meeting the demands coming in April.

“We’ve already distributed 9 million meals, and we still have demand every day for an additional number of meals. So we anticipate this might take us up to another half million meals,” said Rodney Mullins, the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank chief development officer.

On April 1, 2020,  the need for the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank is expected to increase.

“We are now preparing for a higher influx of clients we need to serve. We’re very concerned,” Mullins said.

The Trump Administration is changing the requirements for SNAP in April. Changes include tightening work requirements.

States will be restricted from exempting work-eligible adults with no dependents. Also, they will no longer automatically enroll people in SNAP that qualify for other government assistance.

Senior citizen impacted

According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, the changes will not impact parents and their kids, or those over 50 with a disability.

However, SNAP recipient Patricia Lingo says that’s not the case.

“They give [elderly] $15 to $16 a month in food stamps,” she said.

Lingo works four days a week at Waffle House, instead of enjoying her golden years.

“That’s why at my age at 72, I’m still working because Social Security doesn’t go that far. It’s less than $1000 a month,” Lingo said.

Mullins says over 20,000 people in Middle Georgia will be impacted. Which is why, he says, they’re expanding programs and resources.

The food bank is expanding food pantries at schools. Also, the backpack program, which allows students to take food home over the weekend, will be extended throughout the week.

Therefore, no one will have to deal with food insecurity.

“A normal meal for me at home would be cornbread, some potatoes. And maybe some beans and mashed potatoes to go with it,” Lingo said.

Mullins says if people have access to food, they will be less likely to get sick, and achieve success.

“We want the next Heisman Trophy winner, or the next corporate executive, or the next leader from Georgia to not struggle. Or to miss their goal because they don’t have sufficient food,” he said.

In a statement from the United States Department of Agriculture it states:

“Please keep in mind that the final rule that will be implemented in April will help move able-bodied adults without dependents (i.e. there are no children in these households) into job training and employment opportunities.  While food banks may be planning ways to help children, this rule will not affect children receiving SNAP.  Please refer to this fact sheet and memo for more details on the changes.

 This rule is not about moving people who truly need food assistance off SNAP. There is a wide range of ways for individuals to engage and maintain their benefits–from SNAP-funded Employment and Training programs, to programs and services provided by other federal agencies, state and county governments, and local service providers, or even by volunteering.

The food safety net has always been made up of many partners, including SNAP and food banks, working together to meet the needs of low income people.  Food banks have long been a trusted partner of SNAP, along with many other federal, state, and local programs and charities.”

The Middle Georgia Community Food Bank says they’ll need the community to support them in any way, with donations and volunteers.


Categories: Bibb County, Local News

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