|Updated: 11/04/2013 11:46 pm
||Published: 11/04/2013 10:47 pm
It's getting tougher to put food on the table, especially for families that depend on SNAP, which is Oklahoma's supplemental nutrition assistance program.
The monthly allotment for food stamps has been cut by 35 percent, and now food banks are feeling the crunch.
Food shopping selections have narrowed for thousands across the state. Many are picking up what they can at food banks.
Pastor Ray Crawford tells FOX23 the increase in customers is noticeable,
"We've gone from 500 folks a month to a thousand a month, now up to 13-hundred 1,300 a month."
Families who depend on welfare are migrating to First United Methodist Church in Claremore because their SNAP allotment doesn't stretch as far as it once did.
A family of four with no income will lose $36 a month. DHS says that's about 21 meals.
"One out of five Oklahoma children goes to bed hungry."
We caught Crawford during a rare break in action. Typically Tuesdays and Thursdays are when families clear shelves. The cost of food has outgrown many budgets.
FOX23 went inside the church's storage, it's a utility closet now, it used to be the church's food pantry, but the need grew so much that the church had to move into a bigger space.
The federal stimulus package expired, and caused the decrease in SNAP allotments.
"So, we're trying to make up the gap where we can." Grocery stores could lose millions.
Crawford's congregation has pledged to keep refilling shelves, but not as quickly as many would like.
The church is planning to launch a financial literacy program soon to further assist clients.