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Veterans to lose millions in federal food aid next year

by: OREGON DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES - Oregon's food stamp benefits are distributed via Oregon Trail cards.Veterans in Oregon will lose more than $4 million in federal food stamp benefits in the coming year, according to the national food bank association, Feeding America.

More than 37,000 veterans in Oregon participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP.

Cuts to the program that took effect Nov. 1 may have a disproportionate effect on veterans. While they make up just 11 percent of the state’s population, the Oregon Food Bank says 20 percent of households that received emergency food boxes last year had at least one veteran.

Jeff Kleen, public policy advocate with the Oregon Food Bank, says veterans' and their families typically face more challenges than others. "And our concern is that any cut in SNAP is going to reduce either the amount of food or the quality of food that they can afford."

Kleen says resources from private charities are stretched thin; since the Nov. 1 cuts, he says, local food pantries are already seeing an uptick in the number of households asking for help.