SOUTHEASTERN NC (WECT) – Welfare recipients in our area will have to make their food budgets stretch even further starting today. A temporary increase in food-stamp benefits that took effect in 2008 as part of the federal stimulus expired Friday.
Food stamp recipients face a five percent cut in their vouchers. On average, the benefits for a family of four will be reduced $36 dollars.
Approximately 1.7 million North Carolinians, or one in six, receive food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or "SNAP."
Mother Hubbard's Cupboard, a food pantry in downtown Wilmington, is already feeling the effects of the reduction in food stamps.
The charity has seen an uptick in demand from food stamp recipients trying to supplement reduced benefits from the government.
Mother Hubbard's Cupboard allows most clients to get food once a month, according to board member Gaye Thomas. Its homeless clients are able to get food once a week.
"Several of them have asked if they can come more often," Thomas said. "Right now, we can't take them but once a month or once a week because of our food supply."
She said the non-profit could use donations of money and food to help accommodate the increased demand. The group also needs volunteers to help distribute food at its site on Red Cross Street and to pick up food donations from local grocery stores.
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