Food stamp cuts raising demand at food pantries -

Food stamp cuts raising demand at food pantries

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As the holiday's approach, donations at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey are going out as quickly as they come in.

"We serve 280 agencies in Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland Counties and there's a lot of people out there in need and so that food will go really quickly unfortunately," said Margie Barham, Executive Director of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey Southern Branch.

And a combination of the holiday demand and reduction of government food stamps has made donations like the ones raised through Longport Media's “Operation Help” all the more important.

"We get more and more donations every year and unfortunately the need is greater now than ever before but it’s amazing just to see the community pull together and come to us with so many donations," said Vice President of Broadcast Operations at Longport Media, Paul Kelly.

As thousands of New Jersey residents adjust to the November first reduction in food stamps, the nearly $13,000 and over two tons of food collected comes at a time when the food bank needs it most.

"We’re seeing an increase in need, from whether it’s from the food stamps or whether it’s still the residual affect from the hurricane, there are people still struggling to get on their feet from that," said Barham.

Even the smallest reduction in a food budget could affect a struggling family. Officials at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey here in Egg Harbor Township say they have already noticed a difference.

"A typical family is getting what, maybe 36 dollars less now than they did before with the cutbacks and they're already struggling which is why they are on food stamps to begin with," said Barham.

And it's not just decrease in benefits increasing the demand.

The Ocean City Community Food Cupboard says they have seen more people, which they could attribute to the economy or seasonal nature of employment in the city.

Officials say the community has been responsive during the giving season but the need remains well into the future.

"We know just because our drive is over, it doesn't mean there isn't still a need, so we encourage people to still keep on giving," said Kelly.

"Everybody buys groceries and knows what it cost to feed their family,” said Barham.

“Think about trying to feed your family with less money."

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