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Fewer families get food stamps; more turning to food pantries - KOAM TV 7

As fewer families get food stamps, more are turning to area food pantries

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PITTSBURG, KANSAS -

A new Kansas policy cuts back on food stamp benefits towards U.S. born children with illegal immigrant parents.

Those who backed the plan say the new policy levels the playing field for all Kansans.

The policy is affecting a local Pittsburg food pantry that already has an increasing amount of residents coming in that are in need.

Residents Charlen Burham and Maryann Boody come to the Welsey House food pantry in Pittsburg every month, in addition to using food stamps.

A Kansas policy is cutting back on the distribution of food stamps for families consisting of illegal immigrants, even with children that are U.S. born.

"The people that can't get food stamps, I think it's bad," Burham says.  "They should help them out."

"That makes me feel pretty bad, same as she said, that's terrible, it's a mess," Boody says.

The new policy changes income guidelines for families who have U.S. born children.  Before, a family with a parent who was an illegal immigrant could make up to $900 a month more than a family without an illegal parent and still qualify for food stamps.

"It's wrong," Burham says.  "They should help the people that need it because there are some people that really don't need it but they're still getting on it.  I know a few people, they shouldn't even have it."

Wesley House officials say that the new policy will not only effect the residents living in Kansas, but their organization as well.

Every day about 30 residents on average walk through the doors of the Wesley House.  But those numbers might soon be changing.

"I think there are quite a few and traditionally they do not come in on a very regular basis but have come in totally out of food and if they do not have access to food stamps I am certain we will see them more often," says Ellie Foster, Pastor and Executive Director of Wesley House.

The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services says nearly 2,000 children have lost food stamp benefits since October 1.

The Wesley House says they are always low on monetary donations and foods like canned pasta, canned fruit and peanut butter.

If you'd like to donate to the Wesley House food pantry call their offices at (620) 232-3760.

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