By: Alison Burns
RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia families that are struggling financially will have less help affording food this month.
A 2009 Recovery Act boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, intended to assist families through the recession, expires today.
Amy Woolard, a policy analyst for Voices for Virginia's Children, says that means Virginia families will see a reduction in benefits of about 5.5 percent – or $36 dollars a month for a family of four.
"So with benefits equating to only $4 per day, per person,” she says, “or about $1.40 per meal, that really means families and children will be struggling to make up several days worth of meals each month heading into winter."
Woolard says most of the SNAP or food stamp recipients in Virginia are children, the elderly and disabled.
She's especially worried about the impact of less food on children's health.
"Food insecurity leads to greater risk for things like childhood obesity, and other chronic conditions like asthma, anemia, pneumonia,” she explains. “And heading into flu season we need kids to be as healthy as they can be."
Woolard adds food banks and other charity groups already are seeing an increase in demand.