Benefit Cuts to Increase Lines at Local Food Pantries - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Benefit Cuts to Increase Lines at Local Food Pantries

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Those collecting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are in for yet more belt-tightening come November first. Stimulus money added to that program in 2010 has run out. That will mean single people will be getting $11 a month less and a family of four will be cut by $36 a month. That has local food pantries scrambling.

"We already serve 5,000 families a month," says Ann Schiller of Catholic Charities that runs St. Vincent's Food Pantry in downtown Reno. "And we expect to add another 1,000 families because of the need out there."

The pantry has been offering those in need boxes of food meant to last a week to supplement their food needs in a month. They are now trying to bridge the gap for 10-11 days a month.

"We rely on donations and on grants and foundation money," Schiller says. "And this means we'll need to get more donations to help more people."

"At the end of this year we'll have given out more than 3 million pounds of food," says Scott Cooksley who has managed the pantry for four and a half years. "When I started here, we went through a million pounds of food in a year. That shows you the need."

Pantry organizers also try to help those in need by steering them towards other community services like immunizations and St. Vincent's Dining Room, which offers hot meals six days a week.  

If you are interested in helping out or in getting help you can visit the pantry at 500 East Fourth Street in Reno. And you can find them on the web at

Written by Erin Breen

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