Food Stamp program cuts to impact thousands in La Crosse County

Thousands of people in La Crosse County will now have less money to put food on the table.

That’s because additional funding for the food stamp program approved in 2009 has now expired.

La Crosse County issues about $1.5 million a month in SNAP benefits, or FoodShare, as it’s known in Wisconsin, and a cut in benefits has other local organizations bracing for the impact.

Diane LaFleur has received help from Wisconsin’s FoodShare program for years.


“I’m on Medicaid and my husband’s semi-retired, so we don’t have a lot of extra income,” said LaFleur.

LaFleur said they used to receive $60 a month, but after her husband’s promotion, they’re down to just $15.

Now with less funding in the program, she said there’s a chance what she has left could disappear too.

“It was hard before because we couldn’t afford a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables,” said LaFleur.

Lori Graff is the economic support manager for La Crosse County. She said upwards of 14,000 people in the county are receiving help through FoodShare and that number has grown in recent years.

“I think with the economy, it has made a difference, but there’s also been changes to the program that have allowed more people to get the program,” said Graff.

The cut in benefits doesn’t just mean a cut in funds for food.

The Salvation Army in La Crosse is bracing for an increase in use of its food pantry and in people who could be looking for a place to stay.

“The sad part is, we’ll probably see people cutting back on their prescription medicines as people become unhealthy, they’re less able to work and then it becomes a big cycle,” said Julie Nelson of the Salvation Army. “Then they lose their jobs, and they lose their homes and they end up here, so a lot of things go back on just being able to feed yourself on a very basic level.”

The loss in funds each month could range from $11-$36 for a family of four.

More than 800,000 in Wisconsin are projected to be impacted by the cuts.

The majority of people receiving help through FoodShare use that money as a supplement to their income.