The federal government’s short-term inflation of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ends today, meaning a reduction in the monthly amount for households across the county receiving food stamp benefits. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which funds and oversees SNAP, a family of four receiving the maximum allotment will see a decrease from $668 to $632, a reduction of $36 or 5.4 percent. This marks the final phase-out of federal stimulus funding from ARRA that is administered by the Tennessee Department of Human Services. Dickson County Help Center Executive Director Renee Boehm has said she anticipates seeing increased demand on the center’s food pantry this month. As families adjust to lower benefits, Boehm says they might find it difficult to stretch the EBT card to the end of the month. The help center has put out a call for more food donations to help it prepare to bridge the gap for many families. More than 10,000 Dickson County residents receive monthly SNAP benefits totaling more than $1.3 million. Over the last year, the Dickson County Help Center’s food pantry has provided assistance to more than 1,600 local families. Making it a possible double hit to low-income families is the fact that Congress is considering reducing billions more from SNAP. The Senate has proposed $4 billion in cuts while the House plan slashes up to $40 billion over 10 years. With more than 1 million Tennesseans relying on SNAP benefits and nearly 20 percent of the state’s population considered food insecure, Marcia Wells of the Mid-South Food Bank in Memphis said cuts will mean more hungry Tennesseans and more pressure on local food banks. “If you’re trying to make decisions like, ‘Well, do I buy food or do I put gas in the car so I can get to work?’ or ‘Do I pay the utility bill so I can keep the lights on?’ Those are the kinds of decisions that people are having to make all the time and food, too many times, is the thing that will get cut,” Wells said. To find out how you can help stock the help center’s shelves, call 441-0076.