Food stamp cuts begin Friday

WASHINGTON (WJLA/AP) - Food stamp benefits are set to drop today for more than 47 million Americans. A temporary benefit from the 2009 economic stimulus that boosts food stamp dollars will no longer be available. A family of four receiving food stamps will lose $36 a month. Congress has just begun negotiations on further cuts to the program.

In Gaithersburg, the Manna Food Center is the final safety net for folks low on cash and hungry for food. Thirty-six hundred Montgomery County families pick-up produce, meat, dairy and bread each month.

Manna nutritionist Jenna uUbriac expects that figure to rise in the wake of nationwide cuts to the food stamp program.

"Everyday we're seeing about 250 families coming in our doors," said Umbriac. "And that's only going to go up."

The number of Montgomery County residents receiving food stamps has dramatically increased in recent years. It's gone from just under 25,000 in 2007 to an estimated 70,000 by the fall of next year. That's a 284 percent increase.