The 2014 Agricultural Act, also known as the Farm Bill, cut more than $8 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Commonly known as food stamps, SNAP provided over one million people per month in Washington during fiscal year 2011, according to the Department of Agriculture.
Stew Bowen, the director of the Bonney Lake Food Bank, said he hadn’t seen a huge increase in clientele at the food bank, but he has noticed an increase in poundage of food being taken. According to Bowen, the Bonney Lake Food Bank moves between 70 and 80 thousand pounds of food every month.“We are seeing new people all the time,” said Bowen. “Our busy season is year ‘round.”
The Bonney Lake Food bank recently stopped its summer meals program at Allan Yorke and Rhododendron Park because of the start of school. The food bank will be starting its Backpack Program, where the food bank packs a lunch and food for the weekend into plastic bags to give to school counselors. The counselors then give the food to kids who go hungry on Friday afternoons and over the weekend. Bowen said the program is designed to give those children as much anonymity as possible, so that they don’t expose those kids to ridicule.
“Being food secure is hard enough without exposing it to the rest of the world,” Bowen said.
The food bank is open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and is also open 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Friday.