Food Stamps

With warmer weather, Pittsburgh farmers’ markets are blossoming citywide.

“East Liberty opens Monday, South Side Tuesday, Carrick Wednesday, Beechview Thursday; Friday we have the City-County Building in the morning and the North Side in the afternoon, and then Squirrel Hill on Sunday,” said Mirella Ranallo, Farmers’ Market supervisor.

Health Law Brings Growth In Food Stamps In Some States

Apr 22, 2015
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

President Barack Obama's health care law has had a surprising side effect: In some states, it appears to be enticing more Americans to apply for food stamps, even as the economy improves.

New, streamlined application systems built for the health care overhaul are making it easier for people to enroll in government benefit programs, including insurance coverage and food stamps.

DrivingtheNortheast / Flickr

The holiday season is always a busy time for food banks and food pantries as they try to provide the basics-and a few extras-for those in need.

With the recent reduction in the allocation of federal food stamps, many low-income people have fewer resources to put food on the table this holiday season.

As a consequence, there has been a surge in demand at local food banks and food pantries.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Lost paperwork, benefit delays, being hung up on or treated rudely – those are just some of the problems faced by some residents of Allegheny County as they try to navigate through the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare for either food assistance or health benefits. On Wednesday, Just Harvest, an agency which helps connect people to services, held a meeting with DPW Secretary Beverly Mackareth and concerned residents who outlined problems they’ve had and some of what they’d like to see going forward.

Clementine Gallot / Flickr

Starting November 1, families receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also referred to as food stamps, will see the amount of assistance drop. That’s because a boost in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the federal stimulus, expires.

“We have 1.8 million individuals who receive the SNAP benefit in Pennsylvania,” said Carey Miller, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. “We would expect that there would be about a 5 percent reduction to those individual SNAP benefits.”

When the 1.8 million Pennsylvanians on food stamps wake up on November 1, they will have less money for their breakfast.

A nationwide cut will reduce the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, by $183 million in Pennsylvania and $5 billion nationwide.

Ken Regal, executive director of Just Harvest, said the reduction will average $29 a month for a family of three.