Report: Hunger in RI at 10 year high

With hunger levels in Rhode Island at a 10 year high, the CEO of the state’s food bank, Andrew Schiff, is speaking out against proposed federal cuts that could mean a $90 million a year loss in the state for those who rely on food stamps.

"Something has to give and the safety net is on the chopping block. That is a terrifying prospect for the food bank. We are already near capacity serving 57,000 people every month,” said Schiff.

Rhode Islands two senators were both on hand for Monday’s press conference to unveil the 2017 status report on hunger in Rhode Island.

"It’s just dreadful given the status of health security and food security here in the state,” said Senator Jack Reed.

The just released report shows one in eight Rhode Island households which is roughly 130,000 people cannot afford adequate food.

Schiff attributes the continued increase to UHIP, the problem plagued new benefits system implemented more than a year ago.

"They’re coming many for the first time because they were on SNAP and then suddenly they went to the grocery store, were in line to purchase food and found out at check out that they had no benefits on the EBT card,” said Schiff.

Just least week ABC 6 News learned that the number of pending UHIP applications skyrocketed to more than 7,000. That number came a month after it was made public that thousands of applications were found un-processed.

"It is frustrating. I hope that we get the technical I guess glitches is probably too small of a word, but the malfunction straightened out,” said senator Sheldon Whitehouse.

Earlier this month a special master was appointed to oversee UHIP, specifically the timely distribution of food stamps.

(C) WLNE 2017