The end of October brings an end to a boost in the amount of federal food assistance that's been helping to feed 316,000 Kansans for the past four years. The extra benefits were part of the stimulus bill Congress passed in 2009 to help people recover from the recession.
Barb LaClair, who studies hunger issues at the non-profit Kansas Health Institute, says caseloads suggest low-income Kansans still aren’t seeing a recovery. She says they’re going to have no choice but to rely even more on food banks and food pantries, which are already overextended.
“We know that the number of households in Kansas that are receiving food assistance benefits is at an all-time high," she says. "And we have not seen that level of need recede at all.”
LaClair says the average SNAP, or food stamp, benefit in Kansas is around $260 a month. Families at that level will generally have their benefits reduced by less than $20 a month. That may not sound like much, but LaClair says it can mean several meals for a family struggling to put food on the table.
The food stamp program provides an average benefit in Kansas of about $4.00 a day, per recipient.