Changes To TN SNAP Clear Out Food Bank Shelves - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Changes To TN SNAP Clear Out Food Bank Shelves

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by Chris Cannon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The date Tennesseans who take part in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program get their payments changed on October 1st.

The Tennessee Department of Human Services revised what days payments are dispersed at the request of Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association.

"And they've been asking this for several years for some relief just because the amount of benefits we're issuing each month and the time of month those benefits are issued and spent by the recipients," said SNAP director Richard Dobbs.

Previously payments were spread out over a ten day period.  The revised schedule extends that to a 20 day period so fewer people are shopping during the first two weeks of the month.

The changes affect 95% of SNAP's 1.3 million recipients in Tennessee.

Tennessee paid out $30 million a month for this program 15 years ago. Today SNAP costs the state $180 million a month.

Recipients were made aware of the October change in August. Local food banks also prepared for an increase in people who might need assistance.

Many of the shelves were empty at St. Luke's Community House in West Nashville Monday afternoon.

"We had an incredibly high demand in anticipation of the weekend and, I think in part, in anticipation of the benefits change over date," said Chris Sanders with St. Luke's.

Even with the advance notice of the plan's changes many people will still have a difficult time filling the gap between he first of the month and their new pay date.

"Absolutely for a family who's really trying to stretch their dollars ands survive for that week, especially when they have small children," said Sanders.

DHS said they did receive an increased number of calls Monday from recipients inquiring about the changes.


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