ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Additional SNAP benefits in place since March 2020 due to the pandemic are set to expire on March 1st, 2023. According to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, the average SNAP household in New York will see a loss of $86 a month.

“I think one of the best ways to describe it is a hunger cliff that we kind of saw this coming. We knew it was going to end, we’ve been doing everything we can, and now the day is here” said Randi Quackenbush, Vice President of Community Impact for the Food Bank of the Southern Tier.

“The folks that are most impacted that we’re really worried about are seniors. Some seniors might see a reduction from over $280 a month to $23 or $24 a month. So that’s a huge, that’s a huge cut, a huge loss, and that’s money that folks have been relying on for the last almost three years. So it’s going to have a huge impact on our communities.” said Quackenbush. “It’s meant to be a supplemental program, but a lot of families rely on it solely for their food budget. So with this return to pre-Covid SNAP allotments, the average SNAP beneficiary gets about $6 a day for food.”

“The main message today is if you’re getting SNAP, we want to make sure that you know that this change is coming because it might take a lot of people by surprise and you go to the grocery store and then you’re the money you have had for the last few years is no longer there.” said Quackenbush. The Food Bank of the Southern Tier says its increasing the number of places it will send its mobile food pantries to help feed an additional 300 families per month.

“The need is there, and we know that it’s going to go up when the SNAP benefits go down” said Katie Rhodes, Communications Director for Catholic Charities of Chemung & Schuyler Counties. “The biggest thing for us is knowing that there’s going to be an increase, knowing that we’re going to need increased donations to be able to meet the need, and letting families know and just anyone that is in need to come and visit a pantry, it can be a good experience. I know there’s a lot of stigma around a food pantry, but really we are here to help and we want to help people with fresh produce and meat and dairy and just be able to get them what they need to get them through this time.”

According to the Food Research & Action Center, more than 1,610,000 people receive SNAP benefits in New York State. The loss of additional SNAP benefits amounts to a cut of $228 million dollars in federal funds for New York State, per month.