Quantcast

Too poor to afford food, too rich to qualify for help - KOAM TV 7

Too poor to afford food, too rich to qualify for help

Updated:
Many food stamp recipients could be locked out of the program for up to three years if they fail to work or enroll in job training, under a bill proposed by House Republicans seeking to overhaul the government benefit. Many food stamp recipients could be locked out of the program for up to three years if they fail to work or enroll in job training, under a bill proposed by House Republicans seeking to overhaul the government benefit.

30 MAY 18 12:47 ET

    (CNN Money) -- At age 69, Sandi Zahar takes home around $3,100 a month from Social Security and her part-time job, but still relies on a food bank.

She has diabetes and is a cancer survivor, and estimates that about a third of her income goes to her health care costs. Her income is too high to qualify for food stamps or Medicaid. And she needs to keep working to make ends meet.

"I don't know how long I am going to be able to work," said Zahar, who lives in Texas. "Physically, I probably shouldn't be working ... it's taking a toll on my body."

She's had to make some tough decisions on how to cut back.

"I went on an insulin pump because Medicare pays for it. I don't like it, it's not as good for me, but it's cheaper," she said.

Millions of Americans like her make too much money to qualify for federal assistance, but struggle to afford to put food on the table.

More than 41 million people are "food insecure," meaning they don't have consistent access to adequate food, according to Feeding America. One in four people who are food insecure aren't likely to be eligible for most federal nutrition programs, a recent report from the hunger-relief organization found.

That means they either go hungry, skip meals, or rely on food banks to fill in the gaps.

Zahar gets a box of food from the food bank once a month.

She's careful with how she spends money on food, buying in bulk when she can and cooking longer-lasting meals.

Related: Almost half of US families can't afford basics like rent and food

Though the economy has greatly improved since the Great Recession, life is getting more expensive: Consumer prices have been rising, and while wages have started to tick up, some workers are finding their paychecks are being stretched too thin.

The rate of food insecurity is currently higher than it was before the Great Recession.

"Even in what seems to be a robust economic recovery, food insecurity remains at a historically high level," Feeding America President Matt Knott.

Nearly every county in the country has families that can't afford to put an adequate amount of food on the table. Many earn too much to get government assistance. The problem tends to be more prevalent in the South and rural areas. Jefferson County, Mississippi, has the highest rate of food insecurity at 36%. Nearby Issaquena County has the highest number of children facing food insecurity at 40%.

In every state, children are more likely than the general population to live in a home at risk of hunger, the report found.

"The majority of people our pantries are serving aren't eligible [for government assistance]. We hear stories that they earn $1 or $2 over the limit," said Sarah Ormbrek, community relations director for Second Harvest, which is part of the Feeding America family.

Ormbrek herself once relied on food banks and government aid to get by and had to make some tough choices. "I skipped meals, I was trying to get the most out of the money. So fresh vegetables or any fresh foods were out of the question. It was the cheapest processed lunch meat I could find," she recalled.

"To this day, my son doesn't like pancakes. I would water down the batter to make it last longer."

Related: In booming economies, food banks are busier than ever

Some Republican lawmakers have been looking to overhaul the federal food stamps program, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, by requiring more recipients to work. Some experts fear this would cause many to lose their benefits.

"We are the last line of defense. The government is the first line," said Knott.

"The government's program serves 12 meals for every one meal we do. Any cuts can have a real effect on our network."

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Pittsburg Says Casino Money Is Helping in Multiple Ways

    Pittsburg Says Casino Money Is Helping in Multiple Ways

    Friday, June 22 2018 7:28 PM EDT2018-06-22 23:28:02 GMT

    The city of Pittsburg has published its 5 year financial forecast, and it appears things are looking up. According to that forecast, the Kansas Crossing Casino deserves a good deal of credit. 

    More >>

    The city of Pittsburg has published its 5 year financial forecast, and it appears things are looking up. According to that forecast, the Kansas Crossing Casino deserves a good deal of credit. 

    More >>
  • Worker is Electrocuted and Injured in Southeast Kansas

    Worker is Electrocuted and Injured in Southeast Kansas

    Friday, June 22 2018 5:57 PM EDT2018-06-22 21:57:29 GMT

    The Cherokee County Sheriff's Office is working an accident on Highway 66 east of Riverton, Kansas. According to Sheriff Groves, a road construction worker from KDOT was taken to a Joplin hospital with what he believes to be non-life threatening injuries after being electrocuted today (June 22, 2018). Both lanes of traffic are closed while Empire crews make sure the area is safe. The Cherokee County EMS and Galena Fire Department are also on scene. KDOT is working on an ...

    More >>

    The Cherokee County Sheriff's Office is working an accident on Highway 66 east of Riverton, Kansas. According to Sheriff Groves, a road construction worker from KDOT was taken to a Joplin hospital with what he believes to be non-life threatening injuries after being electrocuted today (June 22, 2018). Both lanes of traffic are closed while Empire crews make sure the area is safe. The Cherokee County EMS and Galena Fire Department are also on scene. KDOT is working on an ...

    More >>
  • Child Advocacy Center to Get New Facility

    Child Advocacy Center to Get New Facility

    Friday, June 22 2018 9:46 PM EDT2018-06-23 01:46:31 GMT

    Workers level the ground on a piece of property that will change hundreds of kids' lives "We staff all of the child abuse and molestation cases in Ottawa County. We prosecute them through the district attorney's office" says Leslie Bissell, the director of the Child Advocacy Center of Ottawa County.  The current facility is about 800 square feet. The new facility will be around 2,800 feet which they anticipate will help with the growing case load.  "...

    More >>

    Workers level the ground on a piece of property that will change hundreds of kids' lives "We staff all of the child abuse and molestation cases in Ottawa County. We prosecute them through the district attorney's office" says Leslie Bissell, the director of the Child Advocacy Center of Ottawa County.  The current facility is about 800 square feet. The new facility will be around 2,800 feet which they anticipate will help with the growing case load.  "...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly

KOAM - Licensed to Pittsburg, Kansas
Send tips, ideas and press releases to: tips@koamtv.com
Send newsroom questions or comments to: comments@koamtv.com
Phone: (417) 624-0233 or (620) 231-0400
Web comments or questions: webmaster@koamtv.com
Newsroom Fax: (417) 624-3158

Powered by WorldNow All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KOAM. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.