ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The extra Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits from the COVID-19 pandemic will no longer be available later this week.
Millions of families will have to adjust as of Wednesday, and many are worried about what they will do next, especially with food prices as high as they currently are.
The combination has already led to an increased number of visitors at the local food pantry.
“I have health issues, and the decrease would affect the family I live with,” said local resident John Kizart.
Kizart, like many, will see a decrease in SNAP benefits starting Wednesday.
“They told me I had to maintain a healthy weight in order not to be back in the hospital, so I need the extra link to survive,” Kizart said. “Plus, two little kids, so it’s really hard.”
The extra benefits started when the pandemic hit to supplement the millions who were out of a job. Each person on the SNAP program will see a decrease between $95-250 a month.
This could be disastrous for millions once rising inflation and a shortage of many popular foods are factored in.
“Eggs have gone up to sometimes $7 and now back down a little bit, but food prices are not decreasing,” said Leslie Varisco, office systems coordinator at Rock River Valley Pantry. “They’re still rising, and so to do this at this time, to decrease those SNAP benefits, [is] going to hurt a lot of families.”
Food pantries like Rock River Valley are expecting more people to turn to them for help. Varisco said, even before this announcement, they had already had an increase of hundreds of people needing their help in the last year.
“Well, it has a huge effect on the pantry because we’ve almost doubled in clients,” she said. “People are not only receiving less help, now they are getting their SNAP benefits cut and it’s going to be a real hardship for them, so we want to make sure we are here for them.”
The Rock River Valley Pantry also offers non-food items and pet needs. More information on how to donate or get involved can be found on their website.