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Budget cuts and the effect on hunger efforts

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PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. --  September is Hunger Action Month across the country, and FOX 17 is teaming up with Feeding America West Michigan to take action on the hunger crisis close to home.

Feeding America West Michigan is asking people not only to donate and volunteer but also to advocate for those in need. That's because the proposed 2018 federal budget calls for cuts of more than 25 percent to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program over the next decade.

"It serves over 73,000 people here, currently, so, that's already a need, and you're talking about cutting additional resources (for) people who are struggling just to make ends meet," said Shannon Blackmon-Gardner, vice president of community impact for the Heart of West Michigan United Way. "These are single parents, these are individuals, seniors, they're children, families that are making minimum wage just to make sure that their families are stable."

About half of the 43 million people served nationally by the SNAP hunger curbing program are younger than 18 years old, said Molly Kooi with Feeding America West Michigan. "If we were to lose (SNAP funding), a lot of people would have to go to Feeding America to get the food they (would not) be getting, because we're a good supplement. But we can't do everything."

Kooi encourages people to contact their legislators and tell them they don't want any cuts to their SNAP benefits. And Blackmon-Gardner says you can help out by volunteering with non-profit groups that help people access assistance programs. One way to do that is to call 2-1-1, which is a free community service that helps connect people with human services.

Feeding America West Michigan says one in eight people in the region face hunger. And one in six children. Here is a link to the food bank's web page, where you can make a donation or volunteer.

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    • Jessie

      No Bob, this will only get worse. Why should I go without all the fancy things my neighbors have? “I deserve that stuff just as much as he does”

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