Food Pantry Demand Linked to Benefit Cuts
Connecticut’s food pantries and soup kitchens continue to see rising numbers of people in need of food assistance. Nancy Carrington is president of the Connecticut Food Bank. She said though there’s been slight improvement in job growth in the state, its not affecting people at the lower end of the pay scale.
"At the time of the recession," Carrington said, "60 percent of the jobs lost were middle-wage jobs. Now that the economy has turned around to a degree, 58 percent of the new jobs are low-wage jobs. So the low wage earners are now in competition with their often better-educated middle-income workers."
Many of those low-wage workers now have less money to feed their families. Hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents have seen a drop in benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the past few weeks. That’s because federal stimulus funds which gave the program a boost during the recession ran out on November 1.
"The rollback, as it's looked upon," Carrington said, "affects 424,000 Connecticut residents. Some people will say, well why don’t these people go to work, get a job? But the reality is of those 424,000, 149,000 are children, 102,000 are elderly or disabled."
Carrington said needy families across Connecticut are depending now on the private sector to help make up for the cuts.