Lakeshore News Tonight

Vets, Low-income Families See Food Stamps Cuts

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November 12, 2013  — Amanda Trujillo is financially scraping the bottom of the barrel.

“I live negative in my bank account.”

She is one of nearly 48-million people in this county experiencing the cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“They said the average house hold would go down $20.  Well, mine dropped $176,” Trujillo said.

“The program, known as SNAP, saw a small benefit boost from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also called the stimulus program.  The federal government voted to cut the anti-hunger tool that helps low-income families.

Veterans, like Trujillo, represent America’s hunger population, and during an economic downturn, income from part-time work and odds jobs just isn’t enough to complement food stamps.

“I worked at Fair Oaks Farms for eight days for silage.  That’s all they needed me for.  I made $371.  Me being the honest person I am I turned that in to food stamps because that was income.  Normally people wouldn’t because it’s 1099, and so they would wait until tax time.  I was honest, and I turned it in, and then I got a letter stating I was cut off,” said Trujillo.

Another letter from the government informed Trujillo that starting December 1 she would receive $200 dollars instead of $378.  That’s less money at the grocery store and less food to feed her family.

She said, “I live off ramen now as it is.  Yeah, we’re on WIC, and WIC gives you so much formula and so much baby food, but they only give you 32 jars of fruit or vegetable a month.  That’s not enough.  If you look at what a doctor gives you to feed a child, they’re supposed to have one half to one full jar, that was at six months.  She’s eight months now, so it’s more.  32 jars is not enough and it does not include meat, so I had to use food stamps to buy that extra food.”

Trujillo started her own business, Sugar Sweet Moments That Pop.  She hopes that with each cake pop, people will be compelled to support a local, disable veteran.  But the event planning is not enough to pay her bills and the blows keep coming from lawmakers in Washington.

“I was told also that they might be quitting WIC in January.  Then I have to buy all of her food and formula on food stamps.  So, that means no food for me because she’s going to eat before I do,” said Trujillo.

Congress is debating whether to cut SNAP altogether.  The cuts would be around $40-billion in cuts in the U.S. House of Representatives while the U.S. Senate is debating $4-billion in cuts.

Trujillo said, “If we can’t come to a conclusion to want to help our people, where are we headed?  You see all these people that are donating all this food and all this money to people in other countries; we have people in our country starving.

The veteran, trained as a warrior, plans to keep fighting for a better life.

By Renetta DuBose

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