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El paso families hit hard by food stamp cuts
By: Crystal Price
EL PASO, Texas - Families in the borderland are already feeling the pinch from the cut in food stamps.
On Friday, cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, will begin.
The cutbacks are the result of a temporary boost from the 2009 stimulus bill that is about to go away.
Lower Valley resident, Diana Huizar, heavily relies on food stamps when buying her groceries.
Huizar cannot work due to her illness and she must be able to afford food for herself and her 11 year old son, Dillon.
"It's hard because once you finish them it's hard to get food," Huizar said.
Huizar is receiving $20 less for the month of November than she has in months past.
Huizar said as the price for certain groceries goes up, she worries she will not have enough left over for the holidays.
"If I do buy everything for Thanksgiving, it's not going to leave me a whole lot of food for the rest of the month," Huizar said.
El Pasoans Fighting Hunger assists with the more than 170,000 people in El Paso who are in need and receive SNAP benefits.
According to the Department of Human Services, a family of four in El Paso can expect to see a 5 percent decrease in its SNAP benefits from November through February.
That is the equivalent of $11 per person per month.
Now El Pasoans Fighting Hunger must bring in more food to help bridge that gap.
The months of November and December are the two busiest months for food distribution -- and the food bank is expecting demand to double before the end of the year.
"Right now we're looking at about 1 in 4 individuals in El Paso who are below the poverty line and could be at risk of food insecurity," said Elizabeth Claudio, director of development for El Paso Fighting Hunger. "But that number is so much stronger when we're looking at kids.We've got about 1 in 3 children here in El Paso who are food insecure. That's too many children."
El Paso Fighting Hunger is asking for donations and volunteers as the holiday season approaches.
For more information on how you can help, contact the food bank at 915-298-0353.