EAST PRAIRIE, MO (KFVS) - Soon, millions of Americans who rely on government benefits to feed their families will be forced to scale back.
Starting November 1, SNAP benefits, better known as food stamps, are going to be on the chopping block.
Around 23 million families rely on this assistance to put food on their tables. According to the USDA, the average monthly benefit is $275 a household. But as a result of the cuts, a family of four will get $36 less each month.
A single mom in the Heartland said she relies on food stamps to feed her 17 month-old baby. She said less money each month means more stress on her and her family.
"That's why it's going to be very stressful for me as a single mother to feed him and it just hurts me so bad that I'm worrying about what I'm going to be able to feed my child next month if my benefits are cut," said SNAP benefits recipient Donnasue Melton.
Donnasue is a single mother and a college student. She's also one of nearly 48 million Americans receiving SNAP benefits.
Eligibility is based on income. For a family of two that income is around $1,500 a month.
She said the monthly assistance gives her the freedom to look for a job and take online classes, all the while knowing her son will be provided for.
"I've been on it for almost a year and it's been helping me out to plan a menu for my son and my family," Melton said. "Just to know that the SNAP benefits are going to be there, even if it's just a little bit to keep food in my son's stomach."
Donnasue said food stamps help her buy more nutritious food which usually also has the heftier price tag.
"What it's really there for is to buy supper every night, breakfast, maybe some snacks here and there, but it's mainly used to buy fruits, vegetables things that can help fill your family's cabinets for the next month," Melton said.
Coinciding with the cut to benefits? Some of most hyped holidays of the year, where big meals and full stomachs are a staple.
Donnasue said it's just another added stress in an already overwhelming situation.
"Looking for employment and trying to further my education and get a better life for myself and my family is just going to be a complete waste because I'm worrying about buying food with what little money I do have coming in and paying my bills to make sure I keep a roof over my son's head and water and heat with it becoming cold outside," Melton said.
This may not be the final cut to the program.
The House of Representatives passed a bill last month that would cut nearly $40 billion from the food stamp budget over the next 10 years, while the Senate approved a less drastic bill.