UPDATED: Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013 --- 6:45 p.m.
Nearly five years ago, a federal stimulus law gave more money to the food stamp program. But five days ago, that law expired.
Now more than 800,000 food stamp recipients in Wisconsin will see a decrease in benefits. For a family of four, that means about $36 less a month. As a result, people like Angel Lightfoot isn't able to afford to do her shopping at grocery stores.
"I have to utilize the food pantry now," Lightfoot said.
Her food stamps went from $367 to just $98. Part of that was because she switched jobs, but a chunk was due to the federal cuts.
"It's a significant change, and it's really hard to budget," she said. "It's like, you make money and they take it away. So as you're trying to get ahead, you get knocked back."
She now has to go to Sunshine Place's food pantry in Sun Prairie so she can provide for her 12-year-old son: "I had to swallow my pride and really do what's best for my child."
Posted Friday, November 1, 2013-- 6:15 p.m.
"There's going to be an immediate need starting today."
Friday, those with food stamps will notice less money on their cards, and food banks will start noticing less food on their shelves.
Additional benefits were given to the supplemental nutrition assistance program or SNAP during the recession. Friday those expire, meaning a loss of about $90 million to food assistance funding in the state.
"Unfortunately this recovery hasn't taken shaped as they hoped for and many of the people we serve still need help," said Second Harvest Food Bank's president and CEO, Dan Stein.
Specifically, there are more than 800,000 food stamp recipients in the state. With these cuts, a family of four will get up to $36 dollars each month. The average benefits per person would drop to $1.40 for each meal.
"When you live on $31.50 a week, you really realistically see what that is, and that's what the average person on food stamps receives and what hits today goes down even more," said U.S. Representative Mark Pocan.
Congressman Pocan is calling for an extension of the benefits given through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009.
"We need to restore most of the cuts," said Pocan.
Pocan made a stop to Second Harvest Food Bank today where president and CEO Dan Stein says they'll have a hard time keeping up.
"To replace the meals that are being lost, it'll be about a 60% increase in the amount of food that we'd have to distribute to break even on what was lost," said Stein.
"They can't possibly fill the gap that's out there," said Pocan.
"We understand the importance of fiscal responsibility and balancing the budget. We just ask that they're not doing it on the backs of those who struggle with hunger," said Stein.
In addition to today's cuts, the Farm Bill calls for millions more in cuts to Snap next year.