Tri-Cities Food Banks See Record Numbers After Food Stamp Cuts
Record numbers of people are using local food banks this month and some attribute it to the recent reduction in federal food stamps.
KENNEWICK, WA - Record numbers of people are using local food banks this month and some attribute it to the recent reduction in federal food stamps.
The Tri-Cities Food Bank's Kennewick location saw 114 people Wednesday and that's just four shy of their all-time record, which happened last year on the day before Thanksgiving.
Tri-Cities Food Bank Executive Director, John Neill, says since the federal food stamp cuts took effect on November first, a lot more people have been coming through the door.
"They started coming in right after the 1st of November, right after the food stamp reduction took effect. The volume has become horrendous each and every day since then," Neill said.
He expected the food banks would need to pick up the slack for food stamp cuts, but he never anticipated the record numbers of people needing help so soon.
Food bank managers say new families are showing up every day and people are returning who haven't come for help in years.
"We have noticed some people, that it's been close to three years since they've been here and now they're coming back. So there's some underlying reasons for that," said Jim Montano, Richland food bank site manager.
"They're clearly saying we have to come to the food bank earlier in the month now because we're running out of money quicker because of the food stamps reduction," Neill said.
Wednesday, the Kennewick food bank handed out enough food to feed more than 500 people. The 114 clients who visited that day nearly broke the all-time record for visitors.
Neill is concerned with the holidays approaching that they'll be overloaded with people needing food.
More donations typically come in this time of year and he just hopes it will be enough to meet the increased demand.
"More food drives and those kinds of things, which are very helpful. Unfortunately, it's going out the front as quick as it's coming in the back," Neill said.
The increased demand means the food bank needs more volunteers. They appreciate the extra food donations around the holidays, but they really need more people to help by donating their time.