Food stamp benefits are set to drop Friday for more than 47 million Americans. A temporary benefit from the 2009 economic stimulus that boosts food stamp dollars will no longer be available.
One in seven Americans -- most of whom live in households with children, seniors or people with disabilities are expected to be impacted.
Barring congressional intervention, the maximum payment for a family of four will shrink from $668 a month to $632, or $432 over the course of a year. That amounts to 21 meals per month, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Officials say the cuts will leave participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, better known as food stamps, with an average of $1.40 to spend on each meal.
The amount people get could sink even more if Congress makes deeper cuts later this year when House and Senate lawmakers try to hammer out a farm bill.
The November 1 benefit cuts "will be close to catastrophic for many people," said Ross Fraser, a spokesman for Feeding America.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.