Bowling Green Food Pantry Braces for Changes to SNAP Benefits

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Earlier this month President Trump announced there will be changes made to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP. One of those changes is the amount of assistance given to some adults starting in 2020. That means food pantries can possibly expect to see a rise in visitors.

Volunteers gather at the Greenwood Park Baptist Church food pantry to prepare for those coming to get their weekly groceries. Packing things like corn, cereal, chicken and pork the pantry feeds over 250 families a month averaging over 800 people with one third of them being children.

“We’re all just people struggling to get along in life and I think it’s important that we recognize that in other people you know. And if we’re a little better off then we can help those that are a little worse off and vice versa you know,” Sharla Hackworth, a volunteer, said.

HOTEL INC., a non-profit in Bowling Green says a lack of affordable housing has been a rising problem in Warren County for some time and has a direct correlation to food insecurity for many.

“An estimated 15,800 renters are paying more than 30% of their net income in rental costs – making their household unstable and at risk of homelessness as well as unable to meet basic needs such as food, transportation and medical care,” HOTEL INC. said.

The new change to SNAP states in the beginning of 2020, some people between the age of 18 and 49 with no dependents will no longer receive a food stamp waiver for more than 3 months within a 3 year period if they are not working. HOTEL INC. also says the demographic of visitors to the pantry is expected to change and grow this upcoming year, with people from various ages, races, and economic backgrounds possibly being affected.

Food pantry coordinator, Hope Baker, says they are prepared for an increase of visitors no matter their story.

“Bottom line is if they come through those doors and need food they get food, simple as that, we don’t turn anybody away,” Baker said,

The food pantry helps hundreds of people every month delivering groceries donated from Kroger and people in the community. Melvin Smith is a retired veteran taking care of his wife, daughter and granddaughter all in one home.

“It’s really important because it cuts in-between the times when we don’t have anything because I’m on a fixed income, my wife’s on a fixed on income and in-between the fixed income the pantry pays off for that, hat’s God’s blessing right there,” Smith said. 

The pantry is open to the community on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to noon and donations are accepted every day during businesses hours.