Parents, school officials say proposed food cuts will hurt students

(Jessica Albert/NewsChannel 12)

JACKSONVILLE, Onslow County - Proposed cuts to the SNAP benefits could affect not only food stamps, but free and reduced lunch offerings to students statewide.

In Onslow County, nearly 700 students are at risk.

April Crenshaw-Taylor has eight kids of her own and uses both the free lunch program and food stamps to help make ends meet. Without them, "I definitely wouldn't be able to feed all of our children," the Jacksonville resident said.

The State House is debating the budget passed last Saturday by the Senate. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has already voiced his displeasure over the SNAP cuts.

Onslow County Schools Board Chair Pam Thomas said would the proposal would do is raise the cutoff point for students to receive free or reduced lunch.

"It would increase the eligibility requirements which means we would have less people receiving those services," Thomas said. "It's a challenge and it's a challenge we're going to address head on."

Thomas said there are other programs, such as the district's own free and reduced lunch program and the United Way Chew Program that could help fill in some of the gaps, but Crenshaw-Taylor worries it won't be enough.

"If that happens, we're going to have a lot of kids failing, a lot of kids doing bad things to feed themselves," she said. "It's not going to be about drugs and gang-banging anymore, it's going to be about feeding themselves."