ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The extra SNAP benefits tacked on during the pandemic are ending this Wednesday. This means many families will lose a percentage of the money they depend on for food supply. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP increased the amount of benefits families received during the pandemic. Now that the added benefit is disappearing, more than 100,000 individuals will have less money to spend on food and necessities for their households.
Starting March 1st, SNAP benefits will return to the previous amount which means most families will lose about $100-200. Foodlink’s Mark Dwyer says this means they’ll have to rely on Social Security and SSI or Supplemental Security Income to make up the difference. “For some people with many children in the household, they’re going to see many hundreds of dollars missing from their food budget,” he says.
Vineyard Farms, a non-profit helping impoverished families, accepts SNAP benefits. Khandi Perez, who depends on Vineyard Farms, says for many families this change will sting. And with inflation leading to rising costs on several food items, Nathaniel Rolins at Vineyard Farms sees the challenge ahead. He says with the prices increasing, they can’t afford food as it is.
Mark Dwyer says losing SNAP benefits is difficult because the program is able to provide nine times the amount of food that food banks do. However, he wants people to know food banks do still exist to assist people. “We want to make sure that they know the emergency food system is there for them. It’s extremely accessible. We try to have touch points all throughout the county and region to make sure there is a food pantry nearby in your neighborhood or town or village.” He also says he knows what they do now won’t make up for the $10 million of what was lost in SNAP benefits, but they want to do everything they can to help out.
Dwyer also says Foodlink will be holding five additional food distributions throughout Monroe County in late March to bring food directly to those who need it.
For more information on SNAP benefits, you can visit SNAP585.org. To learn more about Foodlink and find out if you’re eligible, call 2-1-1 or head to foodlinkny.org.