Local food bank prepares as emergency SNAP benefits expire

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 11:18 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - As the pandemic becomes more of an endemic and a part of our lives, the government is doing away with extra SNAP benefits.

The additional benefits issued during the pandemic peak will expire on May 31. We talked to Golden Harvest Food Bank about how this will impact families across the area.

Low-income families will have at least $95 less each month to buy food. This became an added minimum for those households that qualify for SNAP to survive during the pandemic. This pinch will be felt at both ends.

“Food banks were also receiving an increase in food from the government, and we expect that to fall off since the state of emergency has ended,” said Anna Logan, manager of health and nutrition, Golden Harvest Food Bank.

This program started in March 2020, and we’ve seen record inflation. The value of a dollar is about 12% less than it was back then.

When school lets out food banks get busier. Golden Harvest says the timing is not great. Free and reduced lunch programs are a backbone of support, sometimes supplying up to two meals a day for kids.

“We see an increase in kids visiting our soup kitchen, and in the absence of those meals, parents and families may be more reliant on food banks and food pantries to help stretch their food dollars and meet their needs over the summer,” she said.

For Golden Harvest’s 25 counties across the CSRA, it will be a sharp financial adjustment. They say they have a number of resources available and summer programs coming up, but planning is their advice.

When we checked in with Golden Harvest back in March, they said food costs went up by 30% due to the gas price spike earlier this year. With the national average for gas being four dollars for the first time, it’s believed to have an even greater effect this summer.

“Knowing that it’s going to happen and figuring out how to adjust your budget accordingly is going to be really important,” said Logan.

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