Cleveland: Foodbank expects 'fiscal cliff' food stamp cuts

8:31 PM, Nov 28, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Those who run the Cleveland Foodbank are keeping a nervous eye on "fiscal cliff" talks in Washington, expecting dramatic cuts that will mean more people in need of Foodbank meals.

Cleveland Foodbank President Anne Goodman said, "It keeps me up nights, because people we serve will be deeply impacted by that."

Big cuts are expected in the SNAP program, better known as food stamps.

Two versions are being debated. The Senate's passed a $4 billion cut. A House Committee has backed a $16 billion cut.

In past budget negotiations, food stamp funding has been left untouched or increased.

84 percent of food stamp families have a senior, young child or children, or someone disabled.

"These folks are more vulnerable...These people are going to be hit first," Goodman said.

She predicts that will create more health care costs as poor nutrtition creates more medical problems.

Some federal food program funding is being left intact. But the same amount of federal money last year bought 28 percent less food for the Foodbank because of rising costs.

Another concern caused by fiscal cliff discussions -- eliminating or reducing charitable tax deductions.

Goodman said, "Current donors are very worried about not being able to get the charitable deductions."

The Foodbank plans to ramp up its community education and fundraising efforts.

Goodman said, "I'm realloy glad we've never cried wolf before...I think we are crying wolf now...We're facing a really significant situation..We're going to have to get out and raise money like we've never had to before."

Foodbank givers are more generous during the holiday season.

That spirit may be needed in the new year.


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