Local food bank concerned with potential cuts to food stamp prog - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Local food bank concerned with potential cuts to food stamp program

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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

One in eight Louisiana residents struggles with hunger. These are often hard-working adults, children and seniors who simply cannot make ends meet and may be forced to go without food.

Local food banks are already in need of donations and now some are concerned that possible cuts to the nation's food stamp program could send tens of thousands of families reaching out for more local assistance.

The potential cuts, part of a bill passed by the House in Washington, would cut close to $39 billion in the food assistance program over 10 years.

Many states have more than 20% of their residents who receive food stamps. In Louisiana, close to 950,000 people are enrolled in the food stamp program.

At the Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana, many low-income families rely on the food bank, especially children.

The food bank fears that if the cuts are made, even more people will rely on the food bank and there's already a limited amount of food to go around.

Executive Director of the Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana Martha Marak said although she doesn't know what will happen in the future if these cuts are made, she is concerned.

"We feed about 35,000 people each month around the seven parish area," Marak said. Each year the food bank pumps out $8-million to buy food to help feed these 35,000 people along with the help from food donations. 

Even though it may seem like enough money to feed that many people, Marak said it's not. The summer of 2013 was slow in terms of food donations and with the holidays right around the corner, the food bank is in desperate need of food donations.

"Our main concern is children," Marak said. Many children in the ArkLaTex area do not receive the proper nutrition or enough food throughout the day.

The bill still needs to go through the Senate committee before taking effect.

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