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Food Banks Ready For Increased Demand Due to Food Stamp Cuts, Holidays

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It’s not too often that people in charge of an organization would really like to see themselves go out of business. Yet, that is just what Page Crosland, director of media and events at Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C. wants for her organization.

According to Stateline — a nonprofit, non-partisan news outlet from the Pew Research Institute— Crosland said, “It would be great to put ourselves out of business, but I don’t see that happening.”

When drastic cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) hit families on the first of this month, food banks across the country began stockpiling food, expecting an even larger demand than is normal for the holidays.

While food banks often rely on donations during the holidays, some of them simply purchase food that they know they will need, such as turkeys and other meat dishes. Even before the Great Recession — since 2006 — Stateline cites a statistic from Feeding America saying “the number of Americans receiving aid from food pantries and similar services is up almost 50 percent.”

Also mentioned in the report is a survey by the Food Bank for New York City that nearly half of their facilities were “forced to turn visitors away” during 2012 “with 83 percent blaming a lack of food.”

For the operators of food banks across the country, these most recent food stamp cuts have made their job more difficult. Despite their best efforts they know they can’t feed everyone that is hungry this holiday, even before low-income Americans lost their benefits, resulting in 1.9 million missed meals according to Feeding America’s estimate.

Also, since perishables are rarely donated (and in better times might spoil on the shelf for lack of demand), many food banks are conducting special drives in order to get increased donations of fruit, vegetables and turkeys. Still, there is not much for food bank patrons or employees to be thankful for this year.

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