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New SNAP rule could impact thousands of Wisconsinites

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CENTRAL WISCONSIN (WAOW) -- Nearly 700,000 Americans could lose access to food stamps, including tens of thousands in Wisconsin.

The new rule from the USDA includes a work requirement for able-bodied adults without dependents to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Michele Moyer, the coordinator of Open Hearts Food Pantry in Merrill, said she's worried changes to SNAP could mean more people heading to food pantries.

"If we have a lot more people coming in, we will be hurting for resources. It's sad if their food stamps are going to be cut so much," Moyer said.

Two candidates from the race for Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District also weighed in on the policy.

Republican candidate Jason Church said he hopes the new policy decreases dependency.

"Government dependency is not an American ideal and if the point of food stamps is to help lift people out of poverty, then I think it should be a boost in a time of need and not a permanent way of life," Church said.

But democratic candidate Tricia Zunker disagrees with the change.

"SNAP has been the most effective initiative to combat food insecurity from the federal government. Cutting this program is wrong for the county, it's wrong for Marathon County and it's wrong for the 7th CD," Zunker said.

There are two other proposed rules that are still waiting to be finalized. Those could impact about 3 million Americans who benefit from SNAP. Because of that, half a million students could lose access to reduced school lunches, including 1,500 students in the Wausau School district.

Sarah McGrew

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