Food pantries and homeless shelters say they're beginning to notice repercussions of a reduction in food assistance that will take effect Fri., Nov. 1. A temporary hike in benefits that kicked as a result of the recession expires this week.
Individuals enrolled in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, could see their benefits cut by $11 a month. A family of four could see a decrease of $36.
"This is going to affect our population big time," said Rod Lane, director of Helping Hands in Springfield. The agency runs a homeless shelter, as well as a housing and case-management program for people who used to be homeless.
"I'm more so concerned about the ones that are not in my shelter," he said. "I say that because the ones in our shelter make their way over to the breadline to eat each day. And we serve a hot meal every night. So I'm not concerned about them being provided for. I'm concerned about my individuals that are not able to get to the breadline each day and are cooking for themselves."
Lane says Helping Hands will begin teaching classes on how to make meals using cheaper ingredients, and is going to start a small pantry.
A spokesman from the Greater Chicago Food Depository says the cut makes it all the more important SNAP be part of negotiations as Congress reignites debate on a new Farm Bill.
Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky contributed to this report.