Maryland food stamp recipients scramble in face of benefit cuts

By ZAINAB MUDALLAL, Capital News Service

GAITHERSBURG, Md. – Lillian Robins is marinating chicken breasts in dried spices and olive oil in her fridge for dinner on Friday, and pork chops in a similar marinade for the weekend. She is also freezing blueberries to add to her morning oatmeal, or to blend with frozen bananas for a refreshing smoothie.

Robins, 56, isn’t your average health-conscious eater. She has received food stamps for nearly two years, and is one of 47 million Americans trying to make the most of their food dollars before benefits are cut from the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, on Friday.

“It’s expensive to eat healthy,” said Robins, who lives in Chevy Chase with her 21-year-old daughter. “Right now we aren’t eating as healthy as we should be but we’re eating as much healthy food as we can afford.”

Robins is one of 787,382 Maryland families dependent on food stamps that will lose a portion of their benefits beginning Friday. This is due to the expiration of part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus, which increased benefits for SNAP households during the worst of the recession.

Rep. Andy Harris, R-Cockeysville, said cuts in the program

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