SPOKANE, Wash. -

Congressional leaders will soon consider cutting around $40 billion to food assistance programs over the next 10 years, and local community leaders Wednesday said deep cuts to programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are unacceptable.

Spokane-area food banks, like Second Harvest, are already struggling. They are barely keeping up with the huge need that already exists in our community. If proposed cuts to food assistance programs go through they'll be expected to pick up the slack, that's something they say just isn't possible.

An advocacy group, Washington Now, held a small rally Wednesday. The group included concerned citizens and city leaders, speaking out against cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, more commonly known as food stamps.

"Without it they could virtually lose their lives, they would die without the food stamps," Karen Jeltsch said.

When she was 26, Jeltsch served in the Air Force as a nurse practitioner at Farichild. She raised two kids, put them through college, but fell on hard times and at one point needed food stamps. She was one of the fortunate ones as she got back on her feet thanks to SNAP.

Now she has a message for Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers and other leaders in Washington.

"Get a clue and shame on her. She is our representative. I have been paying her salary for as long as she has been in Congress and she is just trying to pull the rug out on all of this great support," Jeltsch said.

The proposed cuts would come in addition to reductions in SNAP funding already going into effect this November.

This group is urging communities to write members of Congress asking them to stop the House Nutrition Only Farm Bill and with it $40 billion in cuts to SNAP.