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Local food banks effected by less government support

Many area families who receive assistance from food banks could be facing more struggles.

High prices of food and commodities have cut in half the inventory on the shelves of food banks. This means many families who rely on food assistance won't be putting a whole meal on the table, including families here in Amarillo.

"These are not families who are working the system, going door to door trying to get a free hand out. These are families who have come on legitimate hard times that just need a little boost," Mindy Briggs, Washington Street Family Service Center director says.

More than 200 families a week rely on the Washington Street Family Service Center to put food on their tables.

A goal of the family center is to provide those families with well balanced meals. But, that is getting harder to do. The Emergency Food Assistance Program has been supplying less to food banks.

"Commodity prices are so high right now, food is so high that USDA doesn't want to purchase that product when it's at a high rate. They always want to purchase it at a low rate. So in doing that, and thinking wisely about that, it's effected us this way where we have less food in our inventory," Broc Carter with High Plains Food Bank says.

Just one week ago shelves at the food bank were bare.

"In the last six months we haven't had anything come in from the Emergency Food Assistance Program," Carter says.

The program supplied 25% of the food bank's inventory, now they're only receiving 12%. That inventory goes to assistance programs including the Washington Street Family Service Center.

"All I can say is the cuts to the food bank are affecting us and our outreach, which in turn is effecting 400 people a week, which is 1600 people in Amarillo a week that aren't able to make ends meet," Briggs says. 

Briggs told me many families resort to a box of macaroni serving as a whole meal for their family.

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