Thousands of locals impacted by food stamp reductions

YAKIMA, TRI-CITIES - It's a cut almost 50 million Americans are experiencing now. A federal act put in place four years ago has now expired. The act boosted food stamp benefits. Starting Friday, those are now reduced by about five percent. It's affecting thousands across our area.

It's here where demand is expected to grow. The food bank. Thousands of our locals are now feeling a bigger pinch in the pocketbook. The Federal Government may be saying "so-long" to beefed-up benefits from the recession era. But some single moms like 'Erin' think differently.

"It sucks. It's not fun," said 'Erin,'

'Erin' didn't want to show her face. Her food stamp benefits were cut by $20 a month. It may seem small, but 'Erin' knows the value of each dollar.

Erin: "A lot more budgeting. I'm going to have to, I already have another job that I have to do now."
Reporter: "So you picked up another job to help out?
Erin: "Mhm."
Reporter: "How many jobs do you have right now?"
Erin: "Three."

She's not alone. I crunched the numbers of how many people in Yakima and Tri-Cities rely on these benefits. Over 34,000 use food stamps in Yakima County. The numbers show a slight decline over the past three years. Those numbers are up by over 20% for Benton and Franklin Counties. Coming in at over 42,000 for the Tri-Cities.

"Groceries add up and it helps with being able to make rent, being able to actually save up to take care of my kid if an emergency happens," added 'Erin.'

The average cost for cases is similar in Yakima and Tri-Cities. Averaging about $260 this September.

USDA reports a family of four will get $36 less each month. Eight people? Down $65.

"I'm not too happy with it, personally. I think it's a mistake," said 'Erin.'

Locals like 'Erin' are just hoping ends meet.

The reductions will impact over 22,000 children in Tri-Cities. And almost 17,000 in Yakima.