Cuts in the food assistance program known as SNAP are looming as fall approaches. Utahns Against Hunger is trying to soften the blow to the 253,000 residents who will be affected. Gina Cornia is the executive director of the Salt Lake City-based non-profit organization. She says this is the first time ever that there has been an across-the-board cut in SNAP.
“We anticipate the emergency food pantries especially are going to see a bump in demand," says Cornia. "And places like 211, they going to also start getting more phone calls. So there will be this ripple effect in the community. The roll that Utahns Against Hunger wants to play is facilitating that conversation so that come November One, we’re… you know, we’re as prepared as we can be for this reduction in benefits,” Cornia says.
She says it is difficult to remain optimistic given the recent decisions being made at the federal level.
“They’re talking about cutting 40-billion dollars from the food stamp program. How many hits do low income families have to take before we understand that’s not the way to help families out of poverty?,” asks Cornia.
Cornia says a planned meeting next week with Utah Department of Workforce Services is to strategize for the needs of Utahns living in poverty. At the same time, she says her agency is continuing to work with Utah’s Congressional delegation to head off the cuts altogether.