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Food stamp need in Monroe County on the rise

Rochester, N.Y. - It's something we need every day, but not everyone is fortunate to have.

For some families in Monroe County, putting food on the table is a challenge.

Its a need that's often met by the SNAP program, also known as food stamps.

In Monroe County, the number of people on food stamps steadily increased over the past five years.

Most recently jumping from 45,003 in August 2012 to 48,779 in August 2013.

According to U.S. Census numbers released Thursday, 13.6% of households received food stamps last year, compared to just 13% in 2011.

But the number of people who have access to SNAP could decrease if congress votes to cut funding and put in place tighter eligibility requirements.

The House has voted Thursday to cut nearly $4 billion a year from food stamps.

If they do put restrictions on, there's going to be a lot of people hurt who don't deserve it, Bob Bryant said.

Bryant knows how important an extra boost can be, he relied on food stamps for five to six years.

It definitely helps when you're on a fixed income, low income, it's nice to have food on the table, Bryant said.

Food is always the Peter in your budget that's robbed to pay Paul, the other obligations that you have that come with far more dire consequences, Executive Director and Founder of Foodlink Tom Ferraro said.

Foodlink is one of many agencies helping put food on the table, especially for households in between SNAP installments.

Farraro said with growing numbers, a cut to SNAP funding could limit what his agency offers.

We're stretched to the limit, meeting the level of demand at this point, if it goes beyond this - there's no more solution with a cut of $4 billion a year, Ferraro said.

His hope is congress will re-consider.

I think there are members of Congress that have lost touch with reality that we are surrounded with, Ferraro said.

Alexis Arnold, 13WHAM-TV
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