PORTLAND -- Looming cuts to the national food stamp program worry Carlos Alvarez in North Portland.
He’s not alone. The State of Oregon reports just over 800,000 people were on food stamps as of August 2013.
“I have three sons and it definitely helps to make up at the end of the month. Especially at the end of the month when the money's run out," said Alvarez.
He hasn’t worked in two years because of medical issues. On Friday, his food stamp payment will drop from $280 a month to $250.
“It's quite a shock. I mean, because already we use the food bank at the end of the month to supplement stuff that we don’t have, peanut butter, pastas, and it really means a lot. Now, we're gonna lose probably produce on the table," Alvarez said.
He hopes his local food bank will help out. It’s not clear that it can.
“We're very worried. Oregon Food Bank is all about feeding hungry Oregonians. And when key public-sector efforts like the food stamp program get cut, hunger doesn't go away," said Jon Stubenvoll from the Oregon Food Bank.
Nationally, $5 billion is being trimmed from the food stamp program's $80 billion budget. The money was added in 2009 to help offset the recession.
Now that the recession is officially over, the money is being taken away. And in its financial crisis, congressional leaders are looking to cut budgets anywhere they can and may slice even deeper into the budget at the Department of Agriculture where the funding for food stamps resides.
Food Banks across the country are pushing back.
“Right now, congress is going to be talking about further cuts to the food stamp program which is a terrible idea. Congress should not cut the program any more,” said Stubenvoll.