The moment food banks across the country have been bracing for is here: Today, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program loses $5 billion in funding. The cuts will hit across the board, affecting all 47 million people—about 1 in 7 Americans and counting—who receive assistance, dropping the maximum monthly benefit for a family of four from $668 to $632, CBS reports. That's the equivalent of losing 21 meals a month, per the USDA, and brings the per-meal average down 10 cents to $1.40.
"Our members are panicking," the president of the Food Bank for New York City tells CNBC. "We're telling everyone to make sure that you are prepared for longer lines." NPR notes that such sentiments are being echoed by food banks from Georgia to Montana. The $5 billion represents expiring funds from the 2009 stimulus bill. Democrats agreed not to extend them in exchange for boosts in education funding and school nutrition programs. But more cuts could be coming. House Republicans recently passed a $39 billion cut, and while Democrats say they won't accept that, even the Senate bill cuts $4.5 billion over 10 years, the Washington Post reports. (Read more Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program stories.)