Food stamp cut is tough on pantries

People filtered into the food pantry at St. Patrick's Catholic Church earlier this week to pick out canned goods, bread loaves and frozen items.
Marie Havenga
Nov 2, 2013


Local volunteers and human service workers say the decrease in federal food assistance dollars, which began Friday, is on theirs and their clients' minds.

Benefit levels through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps, fell after the temporary federal stimulus package increase of 2009 expired. That means more than 22,000 Ottawa County recipients will see their Bridge card amounts fall when they reload them this month, according to David Akerly, acting director of communications for the Michigan Department of Human Services.

Courtney Strauss, a volunteer at Love INC's food pantry at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, said she expects many of their clients will be affected.

“I have a feeling we will get really busy in here,” she said. “I have a feeling many people come in here even before using their Bridge card. Many of them are embarrassed about having to use a food pantry. We have people come in who you would never expect.”

Love INC President/CEO Eric Morgan said his organization serves an average 30 families a day, six days a week, at local food pantries. With the decline in federal Bridge card funding, Morgan said there will be a gap between need and availability.

“We're going to have to turn to the community,” he said. “Luckily, we're going into Thanksgiving and typically people are more generous. What worries me is what's going to happen in January and February when donations drop off.”

Morgan said he received an e-mail from the county earlier this week about the benefit level change. The Nov. 1 end date of the additional stimulus package food assistance funds was pre-determined when it took effect in 2009.

“We're going to need to step it up,” Morgan said. “We're going to have to rely on our donors to help fill the gap.”

Last month, Ottawa County recipients received nearly $2.7 million in federal food assistance, according to Akerly.

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.




We are spending 4 Billon more than we were 5 years ago. Something is wrong here. Has Obama put our country in this position? How many of these people getting assistance are able to work? I see a lot of help wanted signs around town. The trib has to do a little research on this issue. Who are the people using the bridge cards and are they legit?


Hmm, your ignorance is showing on your first post.
Able to work ≠ jobs available
Many are older individuals forced out of their longtime job, and who will hire them when there are 20 younger people applying for the same job? I guarrantee you, they don't get past the first interview. The help wanted signs you see are the low paying, part time jobs students had (now back in school) with no hope of advancement.
As for the Tribune doing investgative work (an oxymoron) into legitimate bridge card holders, why don't you ask them do an investigative report on if MMMP card holders are legit? What a moron.


I'm with ya on this one Bigdeal, you're outnumbered right now by (new to the forum) idiots so I thought I'd try and even it out a bit.

"Many are older individuals forced out of their longtime job, and who will hire them when there are 20 younger people applying for the same job"? (let me just add to this.....and at a lower wage too....

This is spot on for me. Exactly what happened to me and why I say I was forced into retirement. Had I been given a choice I'd have kept working until 67, if not longer. I loved my job and wasn't ready to go home. Unfortunately, it wasn't up to me so now I'm in forced retirement, so I can pay the bills. Not exactly what I had in mind for the golden years, but it is what it is I guess.


Southfork is spot on, we don't mind giving a hand up but it's getting ridiculous on these hand outs. Obama has become the Welfare President and shame on him and the Democrats for propagating a nation of moochers. This plays right into their game plan. Teach a man to fish he'll have food for life...give a man another man's fish and he'll vote for you.


careful, turns out there are a lot of moochers in west michigan and a majority of them troll these comments; when some one speaks of taking the candy away from the baby...they whiners come out. See below, i am surpised lessthanamused isn't here complaining about how hard he has it because he has no skills to get a job and it's everyone elses fault....oh wait he did


careful, there are more heartless souls like yourself out there to counter any and all moochers. Better ask your god for forgiveness, calling people in need babies. I feel pity for you and all who think like you (not the poor). I hope you, or someone close to you, never needs help but if you do, go to LOVE INC.

Maybe volunteer some of your extensive free time to helping others in need would open your obviously sewn shut eyes.


Does either Southfork or Madmax12 have a brain? I work at the St. Patrick's Job Seeker program. I so agree with what bigdeal has to say. As he said we have 20 people applying for the same job. Going back to school isn't a option for the older workers to learn a new trade. We see people daily that have been down sized, had to go from jobs paying 15-20 per hour to 8 per hour. The reason the unemployment numbers are down is because so many fall off the roles daily. The people who come into the food pantry here aren't begging for anything. They are however asking to have food to feed their families. Or the older people who can't get by on social security or their pension due to higher everything, taxes, or rent, heating costs, (and its getting to be winter here) electricity, if they are lucky some will have cars, so those expenses. Tell you what either one of you morons spend a week at my place. I suggest southfork you do some investigation. See how people struggle, how many do we have here in Grand Haven homeless, or fear monthly that is what will happen to them.


Thanks, Candice. This is the reality for millions of Americans. The vast majority of people who enrolled in SNAP during the Recession were people in circumstances you describe - not moochers lazing around on the government dole.

And it won't get better any time soon. This is the collateral damage of the events leading up to the Recession, and the proof needed of the immoral wealth disparity in the US. The wealth of a few has grown to staggering amounts, while the middle class stagnates or sinks, the working poor move down to poverty levels, the SNAP program grows by millions in a few short years, and in the richest country in the world, our food pantries/kitchens struggle to maintain inventories.


Before we assess blame any measure of misery on a single group of thieves… the President had a super majority for two years, every (R) could vote yes or no on any bill in the house and senate and it made no difference, the President could get what he wants. This is not to say Democrats are to blame either, I'm just saying most of them are out for "them". It's a waste of energy demonizing one party, most of them are greedy slime balls, and we need to have term limits and vote for the man of character and not a party.


And yet the Congressional House right-wingers could not see fit to pass a SINGLE piece of jobs legislation in the past five years, since the Recession, that would provide employment opportunities that would get people into jobs with a living wage and maybe earn enough to get off food stamps.

But they recklessly, and with extreme fiscal irresponsibility, drove the government into shut-down mode for 16 days that cost the country $24 billion and counting. And nothing accomplished except adding to the public debt, waste and corruption.


The below bills were passed by the House as a way to help create jobs in America at a time when unemployment remain above 8% for more than 30 consecutive months.  Unfortunately most of these bills have stalled in the United States Senate.
Review of Federal Regulations
H.Res. 72 - Passed by the House (391-28) on February 11, 2011
Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act
H.R. 872 - Senate has taken no action to date
Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act
H.R. 2587 - Senate has taken no action to date
Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on The Nation
H.R. 2401 - Senate has taken no action to date
Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act
H.R. 2681 - Senate has taken no action to date
EPA Regulatory Relief Act
H.R. 2250 - Senate has taken no action to date
Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act
H.R. 2273 - Senate has taken no action to date
Regulatory Accountability Act
H.R. 3010 - Senate has taken no action to date
Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act
H.R. 527 - Senate has taken no action to date
H.R. 10 - Senate has taken no action to date
Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act
H.R. 1633 - Senate has taken no action to date
Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act
H.R. 4 - Signed into law by the President on April 14, 2011
3% Withholding Rule Repeal
H.R. 674 - Signed into law by the President on November 21, 2011
Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act
H.R. 3630 - Senate has taken no action to date
U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act
H.R. 3078 - Signed by the Preisdent on October 21, 2011
U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act
H.R. 3079 - Signed by the President on October 21, 2011
U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
H.R. 3080 - Signed by the President on October 21, 2011
Southeast Arizona Resource Utilization & Conservation Act
H.R. 1904 - Senate has taken no action to date

There is a reason, a year into his second term, that the unemployment rate, the food stamp rate, and destruction of middle class wealth rates have been historically high - Obama policies. And now he's taking health insurance away from millions, and making it more expensive so he can redistribute more wealth to his favored constituencies - ask the union leaders, ask the Teamsters.


Term limits Vlad....Term limits! The last time I looked "caring for people" was not part of the oath Senators OR Reps take and they make no effort either.


Just joshing. Actually it's much worse than you portray.

From the House Republican Conference and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donahue, congressional Republicans and their conservative allies have touted 27 measures passed by the House of Representatives that they claim are "bipartisan jobs bills awaiting Senate action." But the bills are mostly highly partisan attempts to slash regulations that protect, among other things, public health, consumer rights, workplace safety and the environment. The GOP has also dishonestly included in its count a few viable measures with popular bipartisan support; one of these is being held up in the Senate by a Republican, and the others have been placed on the Senate calendar.

And then there is little dynamic:

The method Republicans have used to block all jobs legislation in the past two years is the same. A jobs bill comes up, it is filled with positive things for the economy, Republicans filibuster debate, this shields them from having to make floor speeches on why they don't want tax breaks for small businesses... etc.


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