WV feeding sites worry about food stamp changes

Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by F. Brian Ferguson Lora Wilkerson (left), manager of Covenant House’s food pantry, and volunteer Spenser Hively gather food products at the pantry Thursday morning. Changes to requirements for food stamps will mean a greater burden for area food banks, advocates say.
Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by F. Brian Ferguson Lora Wilkerson (left), manager of Covenant House’s food pantry, and volunteer Spenser Hively gather food products at the pantry Thursday morning. Changes to requirements for food stamps will mean a greater burden for area food banks, advocates say.
Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by F. Brian Ferguson
Lora Wilkerson (left), manager of Covenant House’s food pantry, and volunteer Spenser Hively gather food products at the pantry Thursday morning. Changes to requirements for food stamps will mean a greater burden for area food banks, advocates say.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state’s plan to make some food stamp recipients in nine counties work or train or face losing those benefits will ultimately increase the burden on West Virginia’s food banks, pantries and soup kitchens, advocates say.

The state Department of Health and Human Resources announced late last year it would reinstate a federal requirement that SNAP recipients meet a monthly work or training requirement of 20 hours per week or lose benefits. The changes took effect in January.

The changes affect recipients in the counties with the lowest unemployment: Berkeley, Cabell, Harrison, Jefferson, Kanawha, Marion, Monongalia, Morgan and Putnam. It affects those who fall into the category of “able-bodied adults without dependents” — those who are between the ages of 18 to 49, are not disabled, don’t have dependents and don’t qualify for an exemption.

SNAP recipients who don’t comply with the guidelines after three months are kicked out of the program.

Chad Morrison, executive director of the Mountaineer Food Bank, said any changes that make food stamps more difficult to access will mean more work for his agency and others…

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