Congress is expected to debate a new farm bill this year, and with it, funding to the food assistance program known as SNAP. One western Massachusetts agency is worried that any cuts in benefits would have a negative impact on the hungry.
There's been talk that funding for SNAP and other social service programs may be reduced to deal with a federal budget deficit, which is projected to grow after changes to the nation's tax laws.
The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts distributes to more than 200 food pantries and other programs.
Director of Programs Christina Maxwell said they'd do their best if cuts to SNAP come, but: "There is no way that the emergency food network in western Massachusetts, or anywhere else for that matter, could make up for the gap that would occur if SNAP benefits were cut by very much," Maxwell said.
Maxwell said that on average, monthly assistance from SNAP runs out after about two and a half weeks, leaving those in need to turn food pantries and free meals.
More than 750,000 Massachusetts residents receive SNAP benefits.