Thousands Face Losing SNAP Benefits
One in five people in Mississippi currently relies on SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps, to put dinner on the table.
In less than two months, 13 percent of these people could lose this extra help. News 25’s Kristen Durand explains.
There were quite a few empty seats at lunch time Monday at Feed My Sheep but it could soon be a packed house on a daily basis, as thousands of Mississippians face losing their SNAP benefits. Feed my Sheep Chairman Ted Riemann said, “Another couple hundred, we’ll be able to survive but it does put a burden, not only on our finances but on the volunteers that work with us, too.”
Up to 75,000 single Mississippians, between the ages of 18 and 49, are expected to lose their food assistance come April if they do not find work or job training. This came after Governor Phil Bryant decided not to seek an extension on a federal waiver from the work rules that are already in place throughout the country. Matt Williams is the policy associate at the Mississippi Center for Justice. He said, “In 78 of 82 counties, unemployment is still higher now than it was when the state first went under a waiver in 2006. So, the ‘why’ isn’t because the economy has improved and the need for food assistance has decreased. In fact, it’s increased.”
A possible effect, more people filling food lines and less money flowing into our local economy. “Because SNAP revenue is found to be an economic multiplier, particularly in times of economic downturn, we’re going to see that benefit of that revenue be removed from Mississippi’s economy and that’s going to have a significant impact,” said Williams.
Come what may, Feed my Sheep leaders say their mission remains the same. Reimann said, “My religion and my God teaches me to help the poor and that’s what we try to do, not only at Feed My Sheep but all the other organizations throughout the state and we’re all going to be faced with a little more work and for the governor to put that kind of burden on the good people that help the needy people, I think it’s a step in the wrong direction.”