(LEX 18) — Come April of 2020, many people who currently rely on a food assistance program called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) could lose their benefits.
Food banks like God's Pantry will likely have to pick up the slack.
Currently, God's Pantry Food Bank helps feed about a quarter of a million people in Central and Eastern Kentucky alone, but that number could go up when the government changes the regulations of those who can apply for SNAP.
SNAP recipients must be able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 49 with no children.
Under the current rules, the group is required to work at least 20 hours a week for more than three months over a 36-month period to qualify for food stamps. States, however, were able to create waivers for areas that face high unemployment.
The new rule would limit states from waiving these standards.
The USDA (United State Department of Agriculture) told reporters about 688,000 people will lose access to food stamps.
The CEO of God's Pantry Food Bank, Michael Halligan said this sets a dangerous precedent for those who live in rural counties with high unemployment who are actively looking for a job, "SNAP is intended to address hunger and nutrition, it's not designed to address incentives for work there are other ways to do that."
Halligan also said SNAP provides about 12 meals for every one meal a food bank can provide, so it will be a daunting task for them to combat the loss of the program.