GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — With two children at home, we met Tungra while she stood in line at a food donation outside of South End Community Outreach Ministries on Tuesday evening.
Tungra said that she has been on Michigan’s Food Assistance Program (FAP) for two years. It’s part of the national Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly referred to as food stamps.
Tungra is like thousands of Michiganders who are waiting to find out how much her benefits will be impacted on November 1, 2013, when five billion dollars in cuts are set to take effect nationwide.
“It’s kind of scary because you know, you already rationed food now, so to think it’s going to be lower and we already had a tough time this month. So, it’s kind of scary,” said Tungra.
According to Michigan’s Department of Human Services, as of last month there are 1,757,800 people who receive benefits from FAP, which equaled almost 240 million dollars in September payments alone. The state has put out an online resource, describing what families can expect to face, and providing phone numbers & educational materials to help answer any questions.
The Federal Government said that families will see cuts between $15 and $36 dollars in November, after a temporary boost to the assistance expires. Michigan has an important role to play in the funding process. U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D), and Representatives Dave Camp (R) and Sander Levin (D) are all on the conference committee that is focused on resolving differences on the farm bill, which sets future food stamp funding.
For parents like Tungra, that amount can be the difference on whether her family will have enough food at the end of the month.
“Sometimes you know, you get down to it and, maybe it has to be 2 meals a day until next month or one meal a day until next month,” said Tungra.