Local & Regional News
3:43 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Federal Cuts Prompt Increased Demand at Food Banks

Arkansas food banks are struggling for supplies to meet high demands after cuts were made to federal food stamp programs.

A number of organizations, including the Arkansas Food Bank and the Arkansas Rice Depot, have reported taking measures to decrease costs, which include cutting employee hours and feeding families lesser amounts in order to provide for others now finding themselves in need.

Congress cut five billion dollars from the nation's SNAP program last week, forcing pantries to declare a need for more food as well as financial contributions.

Arkansas Rice Depot CEO Laura Rhea said the situation arose from a "perfect storm" resulting from low donations, federal cuts and an already existing demand expected with the approaching holiday season.

"We are concerned because there are over 400,000 individuals we are currently assisting through food pantries all across the state of Arkansas," Rhea said. "There are other individuals that are just barely hanging on  ... losing even this modest amount of SNAP benefits, we think, will cause them to either go hungry or go to food pantries, who are already stretched to their limits."

Rhea also noted donations of all kinds are highly encouraged and can aid in stopping hunger across the state.

"We believe that there is no problem that's insurmountable," Rhea said. "The public can certainly make contributions of food or funds to purchase food. Gifts can be designated for specific programs such as for seniors, for children, for families ... or just make a gift to where it's most needed."

Information about helping or donating to the Arkansas Rice Depot can be found at RiceDepot.org.