Local pantries brace for surge as extra SNAP food assistance ends

A COVID-era food assistance program is no longer in effect this week
On average, SNAP recipients will receive $90 less this month. Food banks are preparing for a spike of people in need.
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 5:40 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - This week marks the end of extra pandemic-era food stamp benefits for millions of Americans. The additional benefits for the supplemental assistance nutrition food program, also known as SNAP, are no longer in effect.

On average, people in the U.S. will get about $90 less this month in SNAP program benefits.

Some states already ended the program while the remaining 32 states phased out their last emergency benefits in February. This is causing food banks and pantries to prepare for a spike of people in need.

“We’ve been seeing a monthly increase every month so far this year and almost a triple-digit increase. So there’s a lot of people in need of getting their nutrition in Green Bay,” said Peter Silski, the operations director for Manna for Life, a food pantry in Green Bay.

Silski says they’re less worried about staffing issues for the influx they expect but instead more concerned about the supply of food. With supply chain issues already making things difficult over the past few months, they expect it to be even more of a problem.

Paul’s Pantry in Green Bay is also preparing for former visitors to return for assistance.

“With the benefits ending, all of the folks that used to use Paul’s Pantry are going back to their regular allotment each month,” said Craig Robbins, the executive director of Paul’s Pantry. “We’ll start to see those coming back. So we expect to be busier than we ever have.”

Local pantries expect to see more first-time visitors, especially with increased food prices in grocery stores. Robbins says they want those seeking help to feel at ease in a space new to them.

“We make it nice,” said Robbins. “We’ll maybe have a volunteer go through with them for the first time so they feel welcomed and comfortable.”

Families with SNAP lost an average $90 per month as benefits rolled back to pre-pandemic levels