A new rule change taking place for SNAP programs

SALISBURY, Md.- Organizations are talking about the new SNAP rule that will affect communities not only nation wide, but right here on the Eastern Shore. This new rule change was formalized on Wednesday and it tightens work requirements for people who need SNAP program benefits.

They said this new rule change is going to negatively impact the people they assist on a day to day basis.

The rule change is being set because the government wants more people to work that are getting these benefits and the rule change will try to do that; it will change how states apply for waivers of the work requirement for SNAP.

“The opposite reaction is going to be an increase in people in our community who rely on the food stamps, the SNAP program, the faith based partners who have food pantries,” Reverend Mark Thompson, Emmanuel Wesleyan Church Pastor, said.

Cutting back SNAP benefits will cause more people to seek out help from local organizations.

“The key part of the population we’re serving are the working poor what we have deemed as individuals that are trying their best to sustain what they need and still not able to make ends meet,” Jennifer Small, Regional Programs Director for Maryland Food Bank, said.

But these organizations are already struggling to provide for their communities.

“If an organization has to sustain and increase need because those snap benefits are cut, we’re gonna really have a difficult time being able to service that increase need across our state,” Small said.

The rule change would impact people who don’t have children or are not disabled, but also children who get free or reduced lunches in school.

“With the decline of food of course there’s less availability and a lot of those schools don’t have an automatic free breakfast or free lunch so the school pantry program enables them to have an emergency access point,” Small said.

As of right now, more than 42,000 individuals on the Eastern Shore are food insecure, but those helping to provide to the community will continue to help, even with the increase in people they may see.

“We really need to pull the community resources together, pull our state together, be the voice for actions such as this to make sure that these benefits stay in tact because we cant do it without them,” Small said.

The Maryland Food Bank is seeking help from their community and volunteers to raise donations, especially because of
this rule change.

Overall, 700,000 people will lose food stamps with the USDA work requirement change and it’s set to take affect April first.

The food bank said they are always looking for canned items, pasta and rice, and dairy items that will support the community.

You can always help donate or volunteer, just go to www.mdfoodbank.org

Categories: Local News, Maryland