Just ten days after major cuts to SNAP* went into effect, 1709 households lined up at our warehouse in Watsonville for USDA non-perishable commodities. This is a 22% increase over last November. Although we cannot directly attribute the increase to the cuts, it is a cause for concern, especially as Congress continues to debate additional cuts.
The number of families in our area needing help always increases in the winter months when agriculture and other seasonal employment hours are significantly reduced.
On a more positive note, we were able to supplement the USDA commodity bags with our own fresh produce bags. We work with the California Association of Food Bank’s Farm to Family program to source a variety of fruits and vegetables. The CAFB acquires this produce from growers and packers at no or very low cost.
In addition to red onions, carrots, potatoes, lettuce, kiwi, and pears, the bags included pink grapefruits from Riverside, California.
*The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as food stamps.