CLEVELAND - Christa Hendricks is trying to feed a family of five on $428 a month in food stamps.
"We buy bulk meat, break it down, canned food and at the beginning when we first get our stamps we're able to get juice, milk, some fruits, some vegetables," she said. "But when they're gone, they're gone."
And it's about to get worse.
A federal program that increased food stamp benefits four years ago expires at the end of October. Some reports indicate it will mean cuts of about $10 a month per person, $29 for a family of three.
"$10 a month is a big pack of meat," Hendricks said. "It's probably four meals that I can make out of it."
At the Centers for Families and Children, Food Centers Director Lou Keim sees at least 400 new families applying for food stamps every six months, just from the west side of Cleveland.
"They will say 'I am working but I still don't have enough for the month for me to have food," she said.
The cuts will not only hurt these families who receive food stamps, but they're expected to put an additional strain on food programs that help feed the needy.
"People have tended to think the economy is getting better, that we don't need help anymore," said Mary O'Shea, director of Advocacy and Public Education at the Cleveland Foodbank. "But we continue to need help. We continue to need contributions so that we can get the food and get it to our agencies. "
O'Shea said the foodbank also needs volunteers.
Hendricks said she isn't sure yet just how much of a hit her family will take with the food stamp cuts. She hopes it's not too drastic.
"I don't know how people are going to eat," she said.
Learn how you can help at www.clevelandfoodbank.org
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Neighborhood food pantries throughout the Cleveland area are already seeing the impact of the November 1 food stamp cuts.