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November 18, 2013

Local food pantries brace for SNAP cuts


“If you don’t have the money, you can’t buy the food,” Mason noted, adding that, not knowing what the future holds, “We try to keep our shelves stocked.” 

The pantry is stocked through private donations, as well as donations of unused food from Oneonta High School and Panera Bread. So far, Mason said, supply is keeping up with demand. But she wasn’t so optimistic about the future. 

“We need to watch our funds,” Mason cautioned, adding that the food pantry is “lucky to have the support from a number of places. ... It’s a very giving community that tries to help out any way they can.”


In Delaware County, where Delaware Opportunities supports 15 affiliated food pantries in Delaware County, “It’s too soon to tell how the cuts will affect the service,” agency advocate Deborah Eisenberg said. 

According to Eisenberg, people usually come at the end of the month for food, but it could start a little earlier this month because of the decrease in SNAP funds. USA Today estimated that the cuts amount to the loss of 21 meals for a family of four. 

In light of tight budgets, the agency won’t be doing Christmas baskets this year. The savings of $8,000 is needed to make sure the pantries have adequate funding, she said. 

About $4,000 a month is budgeted for food. Delhi and Hamden pantries served about 400 people in October, which is similar to the same time last year, she said. 

The agency will be depending on methods such as food drives and informing people about what is going on to keep the shelves stocked. 

“While we are okay for now,” a lot will depend on supplies from Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, which serves this area, she said.


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