HomeSnapAs SNAP Benefits Expire, Local Food Banks Expect an Increase in Visitors

As SNAP Benefits Expire, Local Food Banks Expect an Increase in Visitors

It’s known as the “COVID cliff.” That’s when the federal public health emergency funds going to the states during the pandemic came to a halt.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is one example. Over 1.5 million Ohioans, or nearly 12% of the state’s population, are now eligible.

Many families will have their benefits reduced or eliminated in July. That means more people will visit food banks.

“When it seemed like individuals were starting to get back on their feet, there is anxiety that, with this COVID cliff and these benefits expiring, do we have the resources?” Do we have everything we’ll need to fill the upcoming gaps?” Colleen Benson, Development Director of the Akron-Canton Food Bank, stated.

Even though things are slowing down, the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank and its partners continue to feed over 100,000 people each month in the eight counties they serve.

Food charities must now buy more because the federal government has reduced the amount of fresh food.

As a result, inflation limits how much they can buy to close the difference.

“Meat prices are up 52 percent per pound, and our fleet’s fuel expenditures are up 32 percent in the first month of this year,” Benson added.

Many of the same issues plague the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. The Muni Lot lineups aren’t as long as they were a year ago, but when people lose or have their SNAP benefits reduced, their numbers might rise to levels seen during the pandemic’s peak.

They said they’d try their best to make up for the shortfall and, like other food banks, will rely on the public to help their neighbors in need.

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“When the time comes for people to lose their SNAP benefits, we’ll rely on our community to help us ensure they have the services they need… We can stretch a dollar to make three meals, so we always urge people to donate if they can because we can stretch those dollars,” said Cleveland Food Bank Outreach Director Kimberly Lovano.

Seniors, according to Lovano, are among those who could face the most severe cuts.

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ACCORDING TO LOVANO, if SNAP benefits are curtailed in July, food banks are encouraging seniors and others to seek help. They’ve come to do just that.

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