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Food stamp cuts take effect today
(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Starting today, one in every seven Americans will have less money for food.
Billions of dollars are being cut from the federal food assistance program.
It's the first across-the-board cut in the program's history, and more could be coming.
Congress included additional funding for the program in the 2009 stimulus bill, but that expires today.
That means a $5 billion cut in food stamp benefits nationwide.
$180 million will be lost in Michigan alone.
Breaking it down by county, more than 41,000 in Kalamazoo County will see cuts.
Kent County is the hardest hit in West Michigan, with more than 98,000 people affected.
More than 29,000 in Calhoun County will see cuts, while more than 15,000 people in Van Buren County will be affected, as well as 14,000 in Allgean County.
"A number of people who were hit hard with the recession, some of them have not rebounded from that hit, and they continue to struggle every day, every week, every month, and this is just one more added blow in lots of ways," said Anne Wend Lipsey, the Executive Director of Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes.
Members of Congress are now debating whether to trim even more funding from the program.
A bill from the GOP controlled House proposes to cut an additional $4 billion from the food stamp program under the farm bill.
If you're affected and have questions or want to learn just how much money you're losing, there is a customer service number set up.
That number is 1-888-678-8914.