Federal cuts impact local food pantries

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THOMASVILLE, N.C. -- Ethan Cosby goes to the food pantry at Fairgrove Family Resource Center about once a month.

Cosby is a single father of two and says the box of food helps out a lot, especially during the summer when his children are out of school and don't get school breakfast or lunch.

"Sometimes it's only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and tuna, tuna salad, but for them to have those snacks, it really helps out,” he said.

Cosby has a full-time job but says it's still hard to make ends meet with medical bills piling up from a recent surgery.

"I work full-time,” Cosby said. “I have a good job. I try to provide everything to my children, but at the end of the day, it's just not enough."

He's one of hundreds in Davidson County who will only get about one-third of their usual amount of food, starting in July.

Drastic cuts to the federal emergency food assistance program known as TEFAP will cause a major reduction in food to local pantries.

From July through September, the program will no longer provide frozen foods such as meat.

"A can of salmon isn't going to go as far as a huge bag of frozen chicken," said Terri Fisher, executive director of the resource center.

Fisher says the cuts are coming at a bad time.

The food pantry serves about 1,200 people a month and sees a 20 percent spike in the summer.

"That's going to have a lot of impact," she said.

Fisher says the resource center will have to get meat through community and grocery store donations.

It’s a change Cosby says he'll just have to adjust to.

"I'm going to struggle like everyone else does," he said.

Eight items will still be available to food pantries through the TEFAP program.

Those are green beans, dry pinto beans, corn, orange juice, peanut butter, pears, canned pork and canned salmon.