MYNORTHWEST NEWS

National SNAP benefit reduction squeezing local food banks

Apr 11, 2023, 3:07 PM

food bank...

Area food banks worry that with SNAP benefits being reduced, inventory will get tight. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit recipients saw an increase in food stamps during the pandemic as an average family of four saw somewhere between $500 to $600 monthly.

But last March, 32 states, including Washington, ended the boost. Some individuals who were receiving $200 a month during the pandemic are now receiving just $17-$28, putting pressure on local food banks to fill the gap.

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“Families are hurting, you know. They’ve already been hurting because of COVID and losing jobs, and then we come out of the pandemic, and we find that all of our prices are going up and all the COVID money has gone away,” Executive Director of the Auburn Food Bank Debbie Christian said. “So SNAP benefits had to cut back. Families who were getting about $200 extra in COVID monies for SNAP have now lost that money. They’re back down to $25 -$28.”

Christian said the food bank has experienced an increase of about 40% since the cutback. Right now, the food bank is stocked.

“We were lucky that our school food drive happened here in March. So the last two weeks of February, the first week of March, we were very bare, we were trying to pull everything we had to get on the shelves, and then that food drive hit just exactly when we needed it to,” Christian said. “So, at the moment, my shelves are full and I have food in a warehouse that I’m able to pull out in order to make this happen right now. I am worried in a month or two maybe that I’m not going to have enough again because we were very low those last couple of weeks.”

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She said the Auburn Food Bank could use more canned food donations like soups, canned meat, canned vegetables, and any other nonperishable food items. If you can’t drop off items, cash donations are always welcomed.

CNBC released this information for SNAP recipients:

  1. You will continue to receive your regular benefits, even after the pandemic enhancements end, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said.
  2. If you have questions about your benefits, contact your state human services agency.
  3. If you’re seeking assistance, you may try dialing 211 to connect to agencies and community organizations.
  4. If your personal situation has changed — your income has recently declined or certain qualifying expenses have increased — you may qualify for a higher regular benefit after updating your
  5. information with your state human services agency, according to the center.

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National SNAP benefit reduction squeezing local food banks