Pandemic-Era SNAP benefits end, leaving millions with less cash for groceries
MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The pandemic-era expansion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, has come to an end. During the COVID-19 pandemic, congress temporarily boosted SNAP benefits, to help low-income families.
SNAP benefits returned to normal amounts on March 1st in 18 states, including Mississippi. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the “emergency allotments” allowed all SNAP households to receive an additional $95 in benefits or the maximum benefit for their household size. It now leaves millions with less money for groceries.
“This is a huge amount, especially when you look at somebody on a fixed income, especially your senior citizens and those that are unemployed and trying to get back into the workforce since covid and all those different things. And so with that ending, there’s such a need out there and we’re going to continue to see that happening,” said The Salvation Army Commanding Officer, Lt. Roy Fisher.
Lt. Roy Fisher is the commanding officer for The Salvation Army in Meridian. He said the additional benefits made a measurable difference in those living below the poverty line, of which Mississippi has the highest poverty rate of 19.07 percent.
“Let’s face it. In the past couple of years especially, income hasn’t gone up but food prices have. You go to even a fast-food restaurant and pay more than you were doing just 6 months ago. And in the grocery store, you’re really seeing it. Especially when you look at the price of eggs these days and it’s almost double what it used to be. So that plays a big factor in the additional SNAP benefits going away, is that people are now back in that point again of “how am I going to make sure I’m feeding my family’ versus paying my bills?” said Lt. Fisher.
Lt. Fisher said The Salvation Army is hoping to ramp up its supplies to help support those losing funds. In addition, he said their location will soon be adding a new feature to its food pantry.
“We’re going to be doing a marketplace to where, when they come in, they’re actually going to get to go shopping for their food. Not just be given a bag, not just be given a box. They’re actually going to be able to get the things they need. My philosophy is what happens when you give something to somebody that doesn’t eat a certain thing? What happens to it? Either they must find someone to give it to or it just goes in the trash. So, we want to make sure they get to choose the meat that they want, they get to choose the canned vegetables and pastries and things like that,” said Lt. Fisher.
The Salvation Army is asking the community for support, whether it be through a food drive or by donating money so that the agency is able to help offset any shortage.
For more information, assistance, or to donate, please contact lt Roy Fisher at 470-727-1007 or by email at email@example.com.
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