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Food Stamp Cuts Make Thanksgiving Meals Harder To Buy

About 900,000 Hoosiers saw reductions to their food stamp benefits earlier this month.

food pantry

Photo: Jashin Lin

Hoosiers on food stamps will have less money to spend because of reductions that took effect Nov. 1.

Food stamp reductions that took effect at the beginning of this month are making it a little harder for thousands of Hoosiers to put a Thanksgiving meal on their tables.

Farm Bureau Federation estimates the average cost of a 10-person Thanksgiving meal this year will be $49. It doesn’t sound like much, but for over 900,000 Hoosiers who saw their benefits cut by about 5 percent this year, it could mean stretching their dollars farther than they can go.

“You know, people are still going to be hungry, and they’re still going to have to go somewhere to get food,” says Lawrence Interfaith Endeavor Co-Director Donnie Hall.

He says his food pantry has been significantly busier in the last few months. On a crowded day, he sees up to 28 families.

“I would think part of the reason we’re more busy is because of the government’s decision to cut back on food stamps,” he says. “If they’re receiving less money on their food stamps, chances are they’re going to look somewhere else to pick up for that. So it just makes sense that we would be busier – and we are busier.”

And he expects even more people visiting the food bank as Thanksgiving nears.

The average food stamp recipient receives about $130 a month, which comes out at about $1.50 per meal. For that 10-person, $49 Thanksgiving dinner, the cost per person comes out to three times that $1.50.

Add the food stamp cuts on top of that, and Thanksgiving can be extremely tight financially.

Hall says his food pantry should have enough food to keep up with demand this year, but he also advises families to bargain hunt and wait for sales to bring some of the food costs down.

Jashin Lin

Jashin Lin is a reporter/videographer for WFIU and WTIU news. She has previously worked as a videographer/web producer for MO.gov and as a reporter/videographer for the College of Engineering at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She studied multimedia journalism and information technology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. You can follow her on Twitter @jashinlin.

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