Food stamp changes take effect Nov. 1

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The holidays are approaching; families that rely on food stamps may see a little less food on their tables.

More than 47 million Americans, including over 877,000 South Carolina residents, will get less in food stamp benefits starting tomorrow.

In 2009, the economic stimulus plan raised food stamp benefits to help those impacted by the recession.

The extra benefits program, also known as SNAP or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, expires today.

That means a family of four will get $36 less a month in food stamps. This equates to $432 a year.

Crisis intervention agencies, like Helping Hand of Myrtle Beach, are already feeling the effect of food stamp cuts.

"Yesterday we had a woman come in who was getting three-hundred-and-something a month and even though they're only supposed to be cut back 20 percent, her food stamps have been reduced to $92," says Executive Director Adrian Weatherwax.

She notices a lot of people relying on food stamps in the area because pay is low and seasonal jobs suffer during the off-season.

"You know it's hard, especially in the winter when you've got a family and people are laid off and hours are cut back. It's hard as it is but then with those cuts it's going to be even worse," says Weatherwax.

Helping hand serves more than one hundred people a day and feeds about 33,000 people a year.

Fewer food stamps means a greater need for food, and local food pantries like Helping Hand are asking for community help to fill their empty shelves.

You can drop of food at Helping Hand, located at 1411 Mr. Joe White Avenue in Myrtle Beach. They are in need of cereal, potatoes, meat and many other foods. They also accept toiletries, diapers and monetary donations.

For more information you can visit Helping Hand's website:

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