Massive cuts are coming to many families on food stamps by the end of the week. A boost to the program four years ago to help Americans get through the recession runs out Friday and it could push the local need for help much higher.
The River Bend Foodbank serves 10,000 people a week using 300 different feeding programs in 22 counties. But with these food stamp cuts, those numbers could go up; making donations and events like the Student Hunger Drive even more important.
Wednesday, two events in the Quad Cities helped to do their part. At the Empty Bowls event at Moline High School, guests could buy a ticket for 20 different soup options and at a chili dinner at Thurgood Marshall Learning Center, organizers collected monetary and food donations. The proceeds and donations will go toward the Student Hunger Drive.
"Just last week we had a student come to school, came a little bit late, he always comes in for lunch, he walked in and he stood up from his desk, I am so hungry my stomach hurts,” said Mary Kmoch, Advisor of Student Hunger Drive.
“The student hunger drive fills the River Bend Foodbank to the rafters because last year all of the food that we collected was gone by February and with the cuts in food stamps, that's gonna be gone even sooner,” added Kmoch.
Gone even sooner because of billions of dollars in cuts to food stamps starting Friday. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the cuts could total $5 billion for the 2014 fiscal year.
“This will send more people seeking food assistance to these pantries and it's just gonna be very taxing to the whole system,” said Tom Laughlin, Executive Director at River Bend Foodbank.
“The numbers just continue to rise,” said Laughlin.
That’s why events like the ones in the Quad Cities Wednesday, are even more vital to help fill the empty bowls.
“It takes a community to make this happen,” said Kmoch.
The Student Hunger Drive runs through November 7, 2013. Both food and monetary donations can be made to the River Bend Foodbank.