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Food pantry director concerned of impact on farm bill for customers



The US House passed their version of the Farm Bill by two votes last week, 313-311.

It has some in the food bank industry nervous about what some of the restrictions could mean for their customers.

The bill which could face issues in the senate features 20 billion dollars in SNAP benefit cuts over the next 10 years.

WAFER Food Pantry Executive Director Erin Waldhart says lawmakers wouldn’t make those cuts if they knew some of WAFER’s clientele.

Waldhart says, “The people that make up these laws and restrictions, while I get why they exist, unless you get down there and work with them on the front lines, you’ll never understand the challenges that the people we serve face.”

Waldhart says the cuts and added work requirements would hurt the most vulnerable, and wouldn’t go after the people who are defrauding the system.

“The cuts will impact the population that we serve, like kids and seniors who have no real way of getting out of the situation that they’re in.”

Language in the House version would expand work requirements for those 18 to 59 to 20 hours per week, excluding those who are pregnant, caring for children under 6 or those with “substantial health limitations”.

The current requirements go up to 49 year olds.

Waldhart adds if you’re concerned about the bill, you should call your representatives.

Farm programs will shut down on September 30th without a new bill.

Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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