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How much does it really cost to feed your family?

A family of four that qualifies for food stamps should get about $1,000 a month from SNAP benefits, but experts said that might not be enough anymore.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Rising grocery prices are making it more difficult for families to put food on the table. 

The Coastal Bend Food Bank said they're seeing more people than usual applying for food stamps over the last few months. However, they said that food stamps are not stretching as far as they used to either.

Officials with the food bank told 3NEWS that there are more people coming in for help this time of year, compared to last year. A family of four that qualifies for food stamps should get about $1,000 a month from SNAP benefits, but experts said that might not be enough anymore.

Angela Gonzales is the social services lead at the Coastal Bend Food Bank. It is just her and one other person helping people apply for food stamps, assisting at least 60 people each month. But she is concerned some might not get enough for what they need.

"I don't expect one single person to only need $250 per month of food. They would probably need around $300-400 to even get by," Gonzalez said.

Gonzales said people noticed an increase in grocery store prices between $0.30-1.00. That's enough to change their entire spending habits and diets when shopping.

"I've heard of people not buying meat at all, period. They're just buying cheese, they're buying bread, they're buying a lot of canned items because that's on the cheaper side at the grocery store," Gonzalez said.

Food bank Executive Director Bea Hanson said the rising costs affects them just like families. Without normal USDA food donations, they now supplement their meat supply by buying it themselves.

"We are, at this point, buying two to three truckloads of chicken quarters a month and we're paying $20,000 a truckload," Hanson said.

Hanson also said fuel costs for trucks to pick up and distribute food increased from $4,000 to $12,000 a month, a 66.6% increase. Regardless, she praises the community for continued monetary donations to support them.

"Families need to have a holiday and they've come to us for help, and so we need to be there and help them out so that not only we give them food, but we give them hope," Hanson said.

The food bank also said the local Texas Health and Human Services Commission office is overwhelmed with food stamp applications. They said residents can come to the food bank if they need help applying for food assistance.

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