Oct 31, 2013 1:17 PM by Joe Bevans
Church leaders in eight southeastern states say their congregations won't be able to meet the increased needs of food stamp recipients if the federal program is cut as scheduled on Friday. That's when a temporary benefit from the 2009 stimulus that boosted food stamp dollars will expire. According to the Agriculture Department, that means a family of four receiving food stamps will receive $36 less a month. The cuts are expected to reduce the almost $80 billion program by almost $5 billion next year. The cost of the program has more than doubled since 2008 as the economy has struggled. The Rev. Betty Meadows, a Presbyterian leader in Charlotte, N.C., says "to cut programs now puts extra added strain on how we as a faith community respond." The Rev. Russell Meyer, executive director of the Florida Council of Churches, calls the cuts "a special tax on people of faith."