Molly Carroll, For The Miami Student

Families receiving food stamps in Ohio can expect a decrease in their allotted amounts of money starting January 2013.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved a cut in the Ohio food stamp program Nov. 16.

The USDA calculated the reduced cost of electric heat, propane and natural gas used in Ohio last year due to the warm winter and decided to cut the funds to the food stamp program, according to Benjamin Johnson, spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

“Only the people who are covered under the standard utility allowance will see this decrease in benefits,” Johnson said.

“This year, the decreasing cost of natural gas led to a significant reduction in the 2013 standard utility allowance.”

The cut in food stamp funds is projected to affect approximately 869,000 recipients in Ohio.

According to Johnson the cut was originally expected to be $50, but the Ohio Department of Job and Family services worked with the USDA to recalculate the allowance and reduced it to $23.

This decrease in support will mean that people are going to be even more dependent upon food banks and food pantries, according to Hamler-Fugit.

“The reduction in aid given to families in Ohio is going to have the worst impact on the people who need the most help, including senior citizens and the disabled,” Lisa Hamler-Fugit, executive director of the Ohio Association of Food Banks, said.

According to Hamler-Fugit, the food banks are doing their best to prepare for the influx of people seeking food, starting in January but they are unsure if it their efforts will be sufficient.

“We can only do our best to provide and if that’s not enough then we will look for other solutions,” Hamler-Fugit said.

Sophomore Lindsay Aylward said she believes it is important that students make an effort to help those who receive food stamps and who will be affected by the decrease in food stamp aid.

“We are lucky to be able to go to such a good school and it’s important for us as a school to try to help out, especially with the holidays coming up,” Aylward said.