Changes in food stamp requirements are causing some area food banks to prepare for an increased demand.
Up to 9,000 people in eight Kentucky counties could be impacted by the changes the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, that went into effect May 1.
Glenn Roberts is executive director of Tri-State Food Bank in Evansville. It serves parts of Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois. In Kentucky, it serves Henderson and Daviess counties.
Roberts says one Kentucky program is well-positioned to help stock food banks with healthy produce. It’s called Farms to Food Banks.
“It’s a program that’s funded by the Kentucky state government in which farmers are compensated, they’re paid for what’s called their number two produce,” says Roberts. “This is the produce that doesn’t make it to the grocery store shelves.”
Roberts says the change in the food stamp requirements comes at a time when the growing and harvesting season could encourage more farmers to stretch the value of their produce.
“It’s slightly imperfect, blemished, you know, the funny looking carrots or the cucumbers that have a scratch or a dent in them, but it’s perfectly good nutritious food,” says Roberts. “So rather than farmers throwing it out or plowing it under, they’ll get compensated for it, just slightly below wholesale prices, and then that food is distributed to food banks.”
The change in the food stamp program means able-bodied adults without dependents will have to work, volunteer or be in job training at least 20 hours a week.
The Kentucky counties affected by the new rules for the food stamp program are Bullitt, Daviess, Fayette, Hardin, Henderson, Jefferson, McCracken and Warren.