Montana lost out on a million dollars this month. And last month, and the month before that.
And we’ll keep on losing that money because last November Congress allowed a temporary increase in Supplemental Nutrition Access Program (SNAP) benefits to expire and these dollars left our state. They flew off the dinner tables of Montana families. They disappeared from the cash registers of local grocery stores. They went missing from the fields of our farmers and ranchers.
When these dollars left Montana, a large number of families were still struggling to recover from the recession, and relying on SNAP benefits to help put food on their tables. After the cuts, households had an average of $22 less a month to spend on groceries.
$22 a month might not sound like a lot. But for a low-wage family on a tight budget, it is.
This cut means three fewer chuck roasts to put on the table at the end of a long day’s work. It means six fewer gallons of milk for kids to pour over their breakfast cereal. It’s seven fewer loaves of bread for a mom to make sandwiches for school lunches this month.
Milk bought in Montana grocery stores, and wheat grown in Montana fields. SNAP dollars flow through our local grocery stores, our farms, and our ranches. They strengthen not only families who need help putting food on the table, but our entire state.
The effect of this cut is still rippling through our state. Food banks, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters are bearing the burden as families who can’t afford enough to eat must rely on other options.
SNAP provides vital help for Montana families. We can’t let Congress take food off the tables of hungry Montanans again.
MBPC is a nonprofit organization focused on providing credible and timely research and analysis on budget, tax, and economic issues that impact low- and moderate-income Montana families.