AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - President Trump's new budget proposal contains massive cuts to federal nutrition programs and could impact the Panhandle residents who depend on it.
The SNAP program, more commonly known as foods stamps, supplies millions of Americans with meals each year. The High Plains Food Bank says its SNAP outreach program helps thousands in the local Panhandle area alone.
"We're talking about an impact locally of 477,000 meals in the course of a year," said High Plains Food Bank Communications Director Emily Bell. "That's tremendous."
The program receives more than 450 new applications every year. In just the city of Amarillo, more than 28,000 people receive benefits from SNAP. Bell says the budget cuts could drastically affect recipients.
"For a food system that is already strapped, everyone on this playing field is trying to work together and say help put quality nutrition on the food banks shelves so we can supply food to food pantries," said Bell.
Currently, 95 cents of every dollar the bank receives goes toward providing food. Less money for the program could mean less food on the shelves.
Overall, the cuts could result in the loss of more than 33,000,000 meals nationwide. According to the 2012 US Census, more than 60,000 people rely on food stamps across the 29 counties the food bank supplies. Bell says without federal funding, feeding families in need will be even more difficult for the organization.
"If [SNAP] went missing, these families would turn to food pantries, where food is supplied by the High Plains Food Banks, and is already strapped," said Bell. "You can see from our shelves today, especially during the summer time, a lot of our warehouse shelves are bare. When a shelf is bare, essentially it equates at the end of the day that a plate is empty."
Bell says if the budget is passed and the cuts do take effect, the bank will still work to provide for families in need.
"We'd be looking to do what we can as a food bank to continue to supply those feeding partners, food pantries with quality food," said Bell. "We would continue to, though it may sound like a broken record, we would continue to ask our community for support. Our community being all of the top 29 counties in the Texas Panhandle. We say, here's the impact, here's the ripple effect."
The proposed cuts would take effect October first when the 2018 fiscal year starts. Anyone opposed to the bill is encouraged to call their congressmen.