Proposed food stamp cuts to affect 300,000 Texans

Manager of communications at the RGV Food Bank in Pharr Omar Rodriguez

Food banks across the nation are concerned they may not have enough food to meet demand if congress decides to approve a $20 billion cut to food assistance programs.

A study released Monday by the Texas Food Bank Network shows in 2011, one-third of Texas families that were income-eligible to receive food stamps from the federal government TMs SNAP program were not enrolled; many of whom simply didn TMt apply.

We are leaving about $3 billion of federal aid on the table. That TMs money that could really help us economically as well, Manager of communications at the RGV Food Bank in Pharr Omar Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said spending federal money here at home helps the local economy.

People are starting to see that for every one dollar of SNAP used in our area actually produced $1.80 of economic activity, Rodriguez said.

But the amount of federal dollars sent to the Valley may soon slow down.

On Wednesday the House Agricultural Committee is scheduled to vote on the new farm bill. If passed the proposed changes would cut $20 billion in food stamps.

Those people on SNAP, 300,000 Texans will be cut from that if those $20 billion cuts happen, Rodriguez said.

If thousands of families are cut from the program, it will put more stress on the local food bank

If they get cut, their only options are to go to charities and food banks, Rodriguez said. We are already strained as it is. We do have food here but it will move out quickly.

The solution to the problem Rodriguez said is education and jobs.

Food stamp usage does diminish once the economy improves. It doesn TMt matter what administration. It will go up and down depending on the job market, Rodriguez said.

About a third of funding for the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley, Inc. comes from the federal money.