Food Stamp Cuts Affect the Valley

Starting today, federal food stamp benefits will be cut down by five billion dollars.

It TMs going to impact millions of families across the nation.

87%of SNAP recipients live in households with not just children, but seniors and family members with disabilities too.

In the valley, over 300,000 people will be affected and most of them are between the ages of five and 17.

In Cameron County, the number of recipients of food stamps are 113,924. Hidalgo County has 231,796, Starr 21,305 and Willacy 6,764.

Action 4 News spoke with an unemployed mother of six and she isn TMt worried about keeping enough food on the table for her household.

Magdalena Castaneda lives in a 2 bedroom house with five of her six kids and her husband in Pharr.

Castaneda isn TMt complaining because she doesn TMt believe it TMs worth fighting for something that is given to them for free.

I accept whatever they give me, what I can get and what I have," Castaneda says.

Castaneda will only get trimmed $12 less than what she already receives in food stamp benefits a month. Aside from the food stamps, Castaneda also gets help from the local food bank in Pharr.

There she can fill three bags of food to feed her family each month.

Terri Drefke, CEO of the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley, understands there's a need to balance the budget but doesn't agree with the cuts to the SNAP program.

"Anytime that you cut funding for the poor, it's a bad day," Drefke says.

Drefke says that these cuts will increase the amount of people that go to the food bank.

Therefore, she is asking for the public to donate to pantries.

"I would like to stress it is a community food bank, so we need the community to continue supporting the food bank with food drives, volunteering, and financial support and with advocacy," Drefke says.

If you are in need of food assistance, go to your nearest food bank and fill out an application.

Afterwards, they will look over your application and decide if you are in need of food assistance.