"I was mad and devastated and a little bit confused because we need our benefits," Donald said in an interview at her row house, where she was preparing ground-beef tacos, a family favorite, while her 10-year-old daughter and two sons, 6 and 4, played and did homework. "This is the way we eat right now. Live a day in our life before you can cut our benefits."
In Concord, the New Hampshire Food Bank has seen demand grow steadily, even as donations have fallen. The bank distributed 8.5 million pounds of food last year, compared with 4.5 million pounds at the start of the recession in 2007. Executive Director Mel Gosselin said the added pressure from expiration of the supplement will hurt.
"That's going to mean more reliance on emergency food systems that are already stretched to the max," she said during a tour of the bank's 60,000-square-foot warehouse. Three racks stretched to the ceiling but many shelves were bare as workers scooted around on pallet lifts loaded with food.
In Lansing, Mich., 55-year-old Cindy Aldrich is a diabetic with a number of health problems and special diet. Any cut in her $200-a-month food allowance "just scares me," Aldrich said.
"When they cut my food stamps, they cut my pride in being a human being," she said. "I go without a lot. Now I'll go without more."
"Food stamps do not support a diabetic diet; doesn't even come close," she said. "I'm supposed to eat a lot of vegetables, some fruit, some carbs. Six ounces of meat per day isn't a lot. I don't have a big freezer. There are times I'm eating the same thing for a week."
Associated Press writers Vicki Smith in Morgantown, W.Va., Greg Risling in Los Angeles, Ed White in Detroit and Michael Rubinkam in Philadelphia contributed to this report.
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