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Continued: Rosenblum: Small changes can mean big struggles for the hungry

  • Article by: GAIL ROSENBLUM , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 7, 2013 - 6:22 PM

“Going forward, it’s really going to create a hardship to find low-cost bread.”

David Kaplan understands that a $2 difference per loaf is a big deal. “When you’re talking about folks who are living at the poverty level and below, every time they lose an option like this for a basic food item at a low cost, it’s a blow,” said Kaplan, a spokesman for Minneapolis-based People Serving People.

‘Working as hard as they can’

“If you’re making them pay more for food, that’s money they can’t put toward rent.”

Byron Laher, president of Community Emergency Assistance Programs (CEAP), also is worried about the SNAP cuts and what they will mean to the 1,500 families his organization serves at food shelves in Blaine and Brooklyn Center.

“When SNAP benefits went down, people [not receiving SNAP] would say to me, ‘You know, $36 less a month for a family of four isn’t that bad.’ I’d say, multiply it by 12.

“These families come here three to four times a year. They’re working as hard as they can.”

He’s “very familiar” with the Taystee operation, he said.

“Those are the kinds of things our folks cobble together. Whenever one of those ends, they’ve got trouble.”

Laher sees trouble arising with other seemingly little things. He’s been humbled by how many people who cut his hair tell him that they’ve used his food shelves. They tell him that their clients are stretching out their haircuts and leaving smaller tips.

“Any little tick like that,” he said, “just makes life so hard.”

The meeting on Friday was an important step in making life a little easier.

“We know that Senator Klobuchar is supportive,” said Rabbi Harold Kravitz, board chairman of Mazon — A Jewish Response to Hunger, and spiritual leader of Adath Jeshurun Congregation in Minnetonka. Kravitz mobilized the campaign of religious leaders in less than a week and said it’s just the start.

“The idea is to give her support for doing the right thing,” Kravitz said, noting that a follow-up meeting with Klobuchar is planned.

“We know she is willing to compromise, but we think this is an area where she needs to hold fast.”

 

gail.rosenblum@startribune.com

612-673-7350

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