Utah Food Bank: GOP food stamp cuts would be "devastating"

Utah Food Bank Chief Marketing Officer Ginette Bott says food stamp cuts could be "devastating." Image courtesy of Utah Food Bank.

SALT LAKE CITY – The effort by Republicans to cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would be hard hitting for Utah’s hungry, according to an official for the <a href=”http://www.utahfoodbank.org/” target=”parent”>Utah Food Bank</a>.

Cuts to the program formerly known as food stamps would put a huge burden on food banks, said Ginette Bott, the organization’s chief marketing officer, because folks kicked off SNAP will seek meals elsewhere.

“What we will see: The SNAP program will go down, the demand on the pantry inventory will go up,” she said. “Organizations like the services that we give to the 130 agencies, plus the food bank, will have to do more fundraising to provide more food through this emergency situation.”

U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., is personally guiding the “Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act” which calls for $40 billion in funding reduction to SNAP over a decade.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 47 million Americans could not afford food at some point during 2012. Bott said reducing food stamps would severely strain the Utah Food Bank’s already limited resources.

“Absolutely it puts a strain on our resources of food,” she said. “It puts a strain on our resources of inventory. We have to raise more money, and it also puts a strain on us from a staff and transportation perspective.”

Cantor and other lawmakers should try living on food stamps for one day to better understand that it’s barely enough to survive, Bott said.

The Utah Food Bank distributed more than 36 million pounds of food in the state last year.

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