Thousands of North Dakotans count on SNAP, what you might know as food stamps, to survive.
And while the program will certainly continue, there are concerns its budget may be cut when SNAP is re-authorized as part of a new farm bill.
Alexus Arthur reports some North Dakota groups are joining together to fight to keep SNAP funding intact.
“They are hungry North Dakotan’s that rely on this program and we just can’t go without.” said Melissa Sobolik, Great Plains Food Bank.
Congress is considering budget cuts to the farm bill which includes SNAP. There could be cuts as high as 195 billion dollars over the next ten years.
“About 54,000 North Dakotan’s get SNAP and about 94,000 North Dakotan’s visit a food pantry every year.” said Sobolik.
A coalition of farm and church groups is pushing to fight cuts in SNAP funding – cuts they say could leave millions of plates empty.
“I would like to introduce you to Jodi.” said Sobolik.
Jodi is homeless in North Dakota, she lives in her car, and struggles to feed herself.
“Jodi’s on snap and she utilizes the food pantry.” said Sobolik.
That food has helped her move forward in her life as she’s gotten a job and she’s moving into a new place.
“Jodi’s story is one that we hear all too often.” said Sobolik.
Sobolik says it could be a more frequent story if SNAP funding is reduced.
“They’re going to be visiting a food pantry and we just do not have the capacity or the resources to absorb all of those cuts.” said Sobolik.
“We lose one part of that puzzle and suddenly it’s a huge travesty.” said Erin Osness Gullickson, Pastor.
“There’s time here but I think there’s never too much time to have your voices heard.” said Ryan Taylor, Former State Senator.
Congress is likely to craft the 2018 Farm Bill and SNAP spending plans in the next several months and this group believes it’s best to make noise now about what could happen. In Minot, Alexus Arthur, KX News.”
The group is encouraging people to reach out to their senators and representatives.