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Local Pantry Braces for Possible Food Stamp Budget Cuts

Those at Maranatha Food Pantry are reacting to possible food stamp funding cuts, which they say is likely to increase the number of people going to food pantries.

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Officials say $39 billion worth of funding is on the line after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to cut funding for the federal food stamp program.

Those at Maranatha Food Pantry are bracing for those cuts, which they say is likely to increase the number of people going to food pantries.

"More people are coming, you know, each time that we're open," said Maranatha’s founder Natalie Newcomer.

The pantry, which serves about 600 to 800 people in need every month, says the demand for their food has already grown substantially.

"In the past few years it increased maybe 75 percent more than when we first started," said Newcomer.

In Franklin County alone, the number of people who apply for human service benefits and are eligible for food stamps has been increasing for the past few years. In September 2010, there were 14,181 eligible people, but last month there were 16,666 people.

Because a higher number of people need food stamps, more might turn to food pantries if the Senate follows the House and votes yes to slashing billions of dollars from the food stamp program.

Volunteers at Maranatha are bracing for that possibility.

"We'll serve them as long as we can serve them,” said Newcomer. “When they come in, whatever we can do, we'll do."

The pantry says the only way to keep up with demand if the bill is passed is if the community steps up and donates more items.

The White House has already threatened to veto the controversial bill, which is headed to the Senate for a vote.

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