Food Bank For NYC President: 'Food Stamps Make Up The First Line Of Defense'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New Yorkers are feeling the pinch just one week after cuts hit food stamp benefits.

As WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported, nearly two million New Yorkers have lost an average of $29 a month due to cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

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“Food stamps make up the first line of defense,” Margarette Purvis with the Food Bank For New York City said. “You cannot treat charity and government as interchangeable entities. We are not.”

As of Nov. 1, SNAP benefits were cut by $19 million a month in New York City alone, according to experts. The cuts hit despite the greater need for food assistance.

“We had three times as many households as we normally get,” at food pantries in the South Bronx, Purvis said.

Grocery Workers UFCW Local 1500 representative Patrick Purcell said the cut in food stamps means less money to spend at markets and job layoffs for his workers.

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“You cannot support job growth and support cuts to the SNAP program. Those things are contradictory,” Purcell said.

The SNAP benefits were cut as a result of a deal struck in December 2010 to pay six cents more per meal in federal school lunch reimbursements.

The White House promised to work with Congress to restore the funds before the cuts hit, but failed to do so, according to the Food Bank of New York City.

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