Food stamp benefits will soon end for nearly 30,000 Missourians

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Food stamp benefits for thousands of Missourians will end Friday, which means area food banks are bracing for an influx of people and will be looking for more donations.

Missouri is one of 22 states implementing new SNAP time limits in 2016, which means those who aren’t disabled or raising minor children will only get assistance with food for three months out of a three-year period.

30,000 unemployed adults aged 18-49 who aren’t disabled or raising minor children who've been on food assistance since January 1, will hit the three-month limit Friday.  The limit is a result of an expiring waiver put in place when the recession hit.  Last August, Missouri senators passed a bill to remove that waiver.

Food bank organizers say essentially the benefits for these able-bodied adults without dependents is about $150 to $170 a month. Those who have been on food stamps will now have to look for new food sources and a lot of times that falls on the backs of charities such as Harvesters. Food bank organizers say this is more strain for folks who are already strapped.

"I hear people say, 'oh you are enabling people by giving them food,' and I say, 'Please come out with me on the  days that the food pantries are open and see people lined up an hour to an hour and a half before the pantry even opens because they want to make sure they get something sometimes even holding their child because they can`t afford childcare to take them somewhere and tell me that they want to be there,'" Communication Director for the St. Louis area food bank Ryan Farming said.

Those who want to keep their SNAP benefits will have to work at least 20 hours a week or get into a work training program.

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