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11/6/2013 6:00:00 AM
Cuts in food assistance could ripple through Mohave County
SHAWN BYRNE/Miner
Don Martin, who volunteers at Kingman Area Food Bank, sorts through items on Friday brought to the food bank by 4-H clubs the Wranglers, Thundering Hooves, Fancy Feathers and Furs.
SHAWN BYRNE/Miner
Don Martin, who volunteers at Kingman Area Food Bank, sorts through items on Friday brought to the food bank by 4-H clubs the Wranglers, Thundering Hooves, Fancy Feathers and Furs.

Shawn Byrne
Miner Staff Reporter


KINGMAN - Jerry Marsh cruised the aisles at the Kingman Area Food Bank picking up items like juices and fresh vegetables that would help him meet his food budget on Friday. Marsh, 68, is retired and, like more than 44,000 other Mohave County residents, saw his Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits decrease on Friday.

"Obviously it hurts," Marsh said. "I went from $165 a month down to $122. I'm a diabetic and I need certain foods. And I only get $564 from Social Security."

The cuts to food assistance come because a temporary boost from President Obama's 2009 stimulus package ended. Congress' continuing fight over the federal budget plays a role as well. As a result, Arizona recipients will see a decrease of $109 million and Mohave County faces about a $5.2 million hit. Add in the USDA's calculation that for every dollar of SNAP spending, $1.73 is generated in local economic activity, and that could mean nearly $9 million will not be spent throughout the county.

Deborah Conter, Nutrition and Health Promotion Manager/WIC Director for Mohave County, is worried about those who will feel the pinch.

"I think everyone who works in nutrition programs is concerned about the impact the SNAP cuts will have on families who rely on this assistance," Conter said. "The projection is $36 for a family of 4, and while that might not sound like a lot, it can make a huge difference in a tight budget."

For families with children 5 years old and younger and pregnant women, Mohave County can offer the WIC program with a value of $40 per month.

"This could make up for the loss from SNAP and would actually give the family more food dollars if there is more than one eligible person in the family," Conter said. For more information about WIC, call (928) 753-0794.

The typical loss for a household of one has been projected to be $11, a family of two faces a $20 decrease, a family of three, $29, and a family of four, $36, according to Tasya Peterson, director of communications at the Arizona Department of Economic Security.

The hit to Marsh's budget is three times that and with the constant increase of food prices at the grocery stores, he's really feeling it.

"Food costs go up about every three months," the Kingman resident said. "Especially the meat prices."

Marsh is on to something when he spoke of food prices rising. Both the American Farm Bureau and the Department of Agriculture report a 3 percent increase over the past year.

"The food bank is a godsend for me," Marsh said. "I've got to do what I've got to do."

Betty Kahlor, executive director of Kingman Area Food Bank, and her 32-strong volunteer force give out almost 15,000 food boxes a year to a daily count of 75 to 100 customers per day. She doesn't expect the cuts to SNAP to impact the food bank greatly, but she does see a continuing increase of customers.

"We don't really know why the numbers keep increasing," Kahlor said. "It could be people moving in or losing jobs."

What she has noticed is that the size of households is growing.

"Extended families are starting to live together," she said. "Rather than having three and four each in two households, we're seeing seven or eight in one. It's cheaper to live that way."

Should the food stamp cuts force either more people to the food bank or an increase in the amount of food required by those who already visit, Kahlor is confident the needs will be met.

"I haven't worried about the cuts because the people of Kingman are so generous with donations," she said. "They're awesome."

Kahlor mentioned the postal drive that brought in 28,000 pounds of food in May.

Walmart donates about 4,000 pounds per week, and many local organizations compile donations for the food bank.

Marsh's attitude toward these cuts is to remain easygoing and look for the silver lining in it all.

"Thank God I weigh 280 (pounds)," Marsh said. "I can afford to lose 80."



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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

"I was reading everyone comments how some people are lazy looking for handouts etc.. "

Which could prove that "everyone" is right. I see nothing in your comment that proves otherwise, since there is widespread fraud involved in both the programs you mentioned.


Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Article comment by: AJ Ewing

I was reading everyone comments how some people are lazy looking for handouts etc.. well for your information I'm 36 and depend on my SSI and Food stamps. there are families out there is going to feel this pinch.

Posted: Monday, November 11, 2013
Article comment by: Over haul

The whole system needs a makeover. There is so much abuse. I would say that unless you have been determined disabled by Social Security you should have to prove that you are actually seeking a job, but they do not even do that anymore for unemployment, you just go online or call and say yes I looked for a job. The difference is that unemployment does eventually run out where as food stamps can go on forever. This is what needs to change. Maybe there should be a lifetime limit maybe that would help stop at least some of the abuse when people could actually see on a statement how getting a few hundred dollars a month adds up when you have a $25,000.00 life time limit.

Posted: Friday, November 8, 2013
Article comment by: Just Wondering...

THE TEA PARTY IS ON KOCH: "I will bet that the majority of people who are on government handouts in this County are conservatives. Prove me wrong!"

I just did a quick Google search and found this story: The politics and demographics of food stamp recipients
The story states that "Democrats are about twice as likely as Republicans to have received food stamps at some point in their lives..."
With a little research You can probably find more information that includes all aspects of the welfare state.


Posted: Friday, November 8, 2013
Article comment by: Too Hort

"The system is heavily abused, I honestly can't think of anyone who is on food stamps good reason." and you admit you only know 6 people on foodstamps. That does not make you an authority on food stamp recipients at all much less a judge of who is eligible.



Posted: Friday, November 8, 2013
Article comment by: Too Hort

" I will bet that the majority of people who are on government handouts in this County are conservatives. Prove me wrong!"

Why should someone else have to prove your fantasy? You made the statement, you prove it.




Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013
Article comment by: THE TEA PARTY IS ON KOCH

Do not act so naive frank. "It's a leftist thing". I will bet that the majority of people who are on government handouts in this County are conservatives. Prove me wrong!

Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013
Article comment by: Oh Ya

"some would be screeching that it is demeaning and embarrassing."

That's the beauty of it, you make it less appealing. If they don't what to do community service, then they are not qualified to get assistance. They don't like it, move on to another town and don't stick around being a moocher. All it would take is a vote to make it so, but I doubt we have anyone in our local government that would take on the challenge.


Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013
Article comment by: L J

Re: serious thought
We can count 7 households in our neighborhood alone who are on some form of gov't assistance & abusing the system. We're sick and tried of the gov't taking our money we work for and give it to those who are stealing from us the taxpayers.I competely agree if you receive any form of assistance it should be a requirement that you do community service in exchange. It's simply not fair to those of us who work while they don't or won't!


Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013
Article comment by: Are you serious bro

Dem or Rep, who cares, This is a great thing. I cannot even begin to tell you how many people have offered to show for me with there extra food stamp money. "Hey, pay me $50 and I can get you $100 worth of food" That's horrid to me.

Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013
Article comment by: Loving to be Negative

Supplemental security income (SSI) does not kick in if someone is receiving less than $724 per month. It has to be applied for and many people are not aware of it supplementing SS. My neighbor is 85 and has had very low SS and just found out she could apply for SSI to help with her SS. Her increase was $48.00. No one here knows any personal history for Jerry Marsh so you have no right to assume or criticize anything about his life. Some people writing in these columns Just can't keep from criticizing those down on their luck. They need to walk in that persons shoes before opening their mouth.

Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

"...I know everybody was complaining that downtown needs to be cleanup for the Route 66 event, what better way to do it. Come on BOS, County, and State!"

Good idea, but not possible. If people who are able to do so were required to work for what they recieve, some would be screeching that it is demeaning and embarrassing. It's a leftist thing.


Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013
Article comment by: Frederick Williams

The Democrats have a majority in the senate BUT not a controlling majority. When will you righties quit spouting those lies. Did you read where Billionaire famers are receiving a farm subsidy? That is where some money can come from. Give back President Bush tax cuts which were only voted in for ten years until the Republicans said ending it would be a tax increase. More lies.

Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013
Article comment by: Yeppers and Yepperoni

@ Oh Ya

That's actually a darn good idea! If you aren't certifiably disabled but are receiving benefits because you "can't find a job," you should be required to do community service. I like it!


Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013
Article comment by: Samuel Adams

Here's a question for Jerry Marsh: Since Supplemental security income kicks in if someone is receiving less than $724 per month, are you not telling about all the incime you receive? And if you don't receive SSI, is it because you are living with someone who makes more money? If so, WHY are you receiving any food stamps?

Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013
Article comment by: trained observer

just looking at the woman's mug shot, I'm pretty sure she's a liberal. That may sound stupid but so is blaming everything on conservatives especially when Democrats have control of the Senate and Presidency.
___
Sounds stupid? No is stupid. The Democrats didn't shut down the government and collect THEIR pay in order to try to blackmail the country.


Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013
Article comment by: gun guy

welfare is a helping hand not a lifestyle choiceits only there to help you get back on your feet just because you choose to have more kids you can take care of doesn't mean I should pay for them people need to take responsibility for their own actions

Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013
Article comment by: Origional Kingman Resident

"Remember a fundamental rule of Capitalism is that the "harder your work the less pay you earn"."

Wrong, the fundamental rule of capitalism is the more valuable to the market, the work you do is, the more you earn.

People need to work smarter, not necessarily harder. If someone is truly motivated to do better financially, they can find a way to learn on the job and take on more responsibility to move up. Most people would rather complain about their lot in life, begrudge those ahead of them, and not do any more than is required at their jobs.

For these people. easier to eat sour grapes than to apply initiative and effort.


Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013
Article comment by: A Serious Thought

"everyone that I know personally who's on food stamps out here is abusing the system."

And everyone who is like you, are contributing to the fraud by not reporting the abuse. Sometimes the best thing to do is not always the most popular, help your fellow taxpayers out.


Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Article comment by: Oh Ya

"Yeah people are just too lazy to get jobs and are perfectly healthy to work, but have decided they GET MORE from being on unemployment than getting a job!"

It's obvious that you have to take away the appeal of getting handouts instead of getting a job! All you do is take the dollar amount of the assistance that they are getting, divide that by a figure under minimum wage, and walla, that is how many hours of community service you need to perform. If you fail to do the community service, then the checks are cut off! SIMPLE! I know everybody was complaining that downtown needs to be cleanup for the Route 66 event, what better way to do it. Come on BOS, County, and State! Put your heads together and use them noggins!


Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Article comment by: Kingman Resident

Isn't it about time we do something. I know there are people out there that really need assistance, yet it isn't going to them. We have woman with lots of children living with someone that isn't their husband (making 60 Grand) and receiving benefits. Many of these families receive $1,000 alone in food stamps!! What is wrong with this picture? Please tell me why a college student/not married is receiving benefits? Does our local DES ever review these files, as I know these people aren't notifying that there are changes in the household. Many of these people are living better lifestyles than those who earn a honest days wage.

Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Article comment by: The Fox Hound

Here is the 48 percent again wanting a handout. Don't they know that the harder you work the less you get paid in this country, why that's just simple capitalism I thought everybody knew that. But don't worry friends we got plenty of money for the important stuff like war and keeping the world safe from all the bad guys them damn liberals think are our neighbors. Why don't these free loaders go to China that's were all the good jobs are, and there is plenty of turn over cause the workers are jumping off the buildings. What a Country, got a love it.

Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Article comment by: Mixed Feelings

[Comment exceeded word limit.]

Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Article comment by: R B

[Comment exceeded word limit.]

Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Article comment by: Sassy Lassy

Well, actually, I suspect "good deal" isn't terribly far off...everyone that I know personally who's on food stamps out here is abusing the system. One is an auto mechanic working under the table and blows the money that he makes from turning wrenches, in the bar. Another is a 60 something year old who blows much of his money on beer, ciggies and pot. A third finally got a job but had a considerable amount of money left when she sold some property and moved here. She lived on the surplus of cash and managed to get food stamps in the meantime. I can list at least 3 more right off the top of my head. The system is heavily abused, I honestly can't think of anyone who is on food stamps good reason.


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