SNAP benefits cut ahead of Thanksgiving

Cuts to the SNAP program will prevent millions of Americans from enjoying a typical Thanksgiving meal. (Photo courtesy of Jim Brickett via Flickr Creative Commons)

Recent cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program will prevent millions of Americans from enjoying a typical Thanksgiving feast this year. Benefits in South Carolina now average $4.01 per day. (Photo courtesy of Jim Brickett via Flickr Creative Commons)

As masses of students here at College of Charleston and across the nation wrap up their last week before Thanksgiving break, their minds feasting on memories of all their favorite holiday dishes, millions more are saving up money to prepare skimpier meals for their tables.

Beginning Nov. 1, cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program, known by many as the food stamps system, took effect, impacting the nearly 47 million Americans it aids. The cuts come just in time for holidays, leaving many of the already struggling families who depend on the supplements at a loss regarding how to celebrate.

In South Carolina alone, 18 percent of the population depends partially or wholly on SNAP for food. Of that 18 percent, 401,000 are children and 142,000 are elderly or disabled, together comprise 62 percent of our state’s SNAP recipients. Nationwide, 76 percent meet these criteria.

In 2012, a year before the recent cuts, the average monthly benefit per person in South Carolina totaled $131.38. Divided by 30, that comes out as $4.37 per day. Since then, the average monthly benefit per person in the state has fallen to $4.01 per day.

With this last week before Thanksgiving being Hunger and Homeless Awareness week, students wishing to help those in need may donate their dining dollars at Market 159 and Stern cafeteria. Additionally, the college is hosting several events throughout the week that students can attend to learn more about the daily challenges facing the homeless and the hungry.

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