Georgians who collect food stamps are going to have to get by on a lot less.
Starting Nov. 1, the federal government will cut the program by $47 million.
That will leave nearly 2 million low-income Georgians scrambling to find ways to stretch their dollars even thinner than they are now.
One in five Georgians relies food stamps.
Many of them are working people who are struggling just to feed their families.
Angeletha Mintah, who is a single mother with three children at home, knows how to stretch a dollar.
"If you normally would buy fresh vegetables, now you have to find those canned goods, the three for a dollar, two for a dollar," Mintah said.
Mintah, who runs a private nonprofit and barely collects a salary, relies heavily on food stamps to help feed her children.
"It has been a struggle," Mintah said.
That struggle could grow into a crisis.
"Even though the benefits are going down, prices are going up. That makes it even harder when you're trying to make ends meet," Mintah said.
The maximum benefit for a family for four is about $668 a month, according the Department of Agriculture, which runs the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program. The cuts will drop that to $632 a month.
That same family will lose 26 meals per month, according to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, leaving that family with an average of about $1.40 to spend per person, per meal.
"It just means I'll have to buy second rate. The fresh bread you may buy that's fresh and spanking new, I have to wait a couple of days," Mintah said.
Bill Bolling, the founder and executive director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, said the recession forced many families to seek help from food pantries.
Bolling said the new cuts will put even more stress on food banks.
"It has put a tremendous strain on our operations. We'll get through the holidays. It's going to be a tough year ahead for us," Bolling said.
Mintah said her children will not go hungry, but she will have to buy cheaper food and older, less nutritious food.
"My kids aren't going to go without, but will my kids be as healthy as they should be? No," Mintah said.
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Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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