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SNAP benefits affected local food pantries

Food pantries and food banks in the Capital Region are seeing an increase in business, and an increase in a need for more money to conduct their missions of helping people.
Food pantries and food banks in the Capital Region are seeing an increase in business, and an increase in a need for more money to conduct their missions of helping people.
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Updated: 12/09/2013 8:00 pm

ALBANY, N.Y. -- At the Focus Food Pantry, organizers are gearing up for an overload in demand as cuts to food stamps have led to an increasing number of those who need help.

The pantry serves around 400 families in Albany County each month, according to Executive Director Reverend Debra Jameson. She says she has seen a 60 percent increase over the past few years in the number of people who need the pantry's services.

"As soon as something comes in within a day it's already out to a family," said Jameson.

Cynthia Dixon of Troy has voiced her gratitude for food pantries like the Commission for Economic Opportunity. Dixon, like hundreds in the area, is struggling to make ends meet, and on November 1st benefits to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP decreased, something Dixon relied on.

"It's been hard; you know what I'm saying? Because you know when you count on so much a month and you budget out your money and you budget out your stamps for the month, it's really hard," explained Dixon.

Jameson and the CEO Food Pantry of Rensselaer County already find it difficult to keep the shelves stacked each week and now with more coming in because of the SNAP cuts, they worry about being able to serve the growing need.

"We're seeing more folks that have less resources and now they're coming in with less SNAP benefits to spend. We're very concerned," says Rev. Jameson.

"Biggest concern is being able to meet the demand. There are very limited criteria for who can come. It is an emergency service so any resident of Rensselaer County is welcome to come here," says Katie Fike, Director of planning at CEO.

If you would like to donate, you can drop of items, the pantry on 275 State Street is in need of low sodium canned goods and produce. At CEO on 5th Avenue in Troy, they are asking for items like tuna fish, peanut butter, and canned goods.. 

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