LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – Local non-profit groups are voicing their concerns over a recent vote by the U.S. House that would cut nearly $4 billion a year from food stamps.
The bill still has to be approved by the senate and then the president, but if it passes, some residents fear it could hurt the hundreds of people in Lowndes County who can’t afford to buy food each month.
The shelves may be stocked now, but organizers at Helping Hands say they can’t afford funding cuts to the food stamp program.
It’s an issue of numbers for the non-profit agency. As work hours continue to be slashed, the number of families in need is increasing, and so is the cost of food.
“So they’re just getting double whammied, and they have less income coming in, and everything else costs more, and so they’re making decisions,” said Nancy Guerry, executive director for Helping Hands. “They can pay their rent, but they can’t pay their rent and go to the grocery store, or they can go to the grocery store, but they can’t pay for their medication, so it’s just a juggling act for a lot of citizens in Lowndes County.”
Workers say they already give food to about 200 families in Lowndes County a month, and that number could eventually grow because of this change.
“We already see a big demand for those that are hungry in our community, and so we believe that that demand’s going to increase because of this,” said Pastor Raigan Miskelly, First United Methodist Church of Columbus.
First United Methodist is one of several churches that serves Lowndes County residents a few times a month, with the Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen.
Miskelly says on average, about 200 people come in on a serving day.
“People just don’t realize how much need is out there, and how few places there are where those needs are being met,” Guerry said.
And if lawmakers approve the proposed cuts, non-profit organizations will become even more dependent on donations.
Helping Hands says it’s always looking for donations like money or non-perishable food items.
You can drop either of those off at their location on 22nd Street in Columbus.