Billions of dollars have been cut from a food stamp program, leaving hundreds of thousands of D.C.-area residents scrambling to pay for their meals.
The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or S.N.A.P., was cut by $5 billion nationally Nov. 1. The cuts affect 144,000 residents in D.C., 774,000 in Maryland and 941,000 in Virginia.
According to Alexandria Ashbrook with D.C. Hunger Solutions, the exact percentage loss per month is unknown, but she estimates the monthly loss to be as much as $36 for a family of four.
"The average S.N.A.P. benefit provides about $1.40 per meal," Ashbrook said. "We're talking about a family of four losing [their ability to pay for] 21 meals a month."
In response, regional churches, community centers and organizations area donating more food to help area families.
“We see more people call into the food bank for assistance, we see more people come into our partner agencies, and they’re requesting more and more food every day. The need is definitely growing,” Brian Banks with Capital Area Food Bank told News4.
More drastic cuts could be on the horizon as Congress considers a new Farm Bill.