INDIANAPOLIS – Food banks are preparing for an additional spike in demand as the federal pandemic SNAP benefits are set to expire in a few weeks.
Since the start of the pandemic, families on food stamps have been able to receive the maximum benefit allowed for their household size.
“I’m very concerned,” said Richard Gordon, senior resource manager for Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana.
Gordon, who helps people apply for SNAP benefits, said he has seen a growing number of people in recent months asking for information about food stamps, including many who have never received them before.
“A lot of families with … the rising cost of gas, food, what have you, are experiencing hardships right now and just really having trouble making ends meet,” Gordon said.
Food banks have already seen an increase in demand in recent months.
Gleaners sent 10 million pounds of food to its food pantries last month – more than any other time in the pandemic, according to officials.
It’s a similar story for the Midwest Food Bank, whose food pantries have seen a 10% increase in demand in the past two months.
“The hardest hit seem to be right here in the main Indianapolis area but we also have some deep embedded poverty in the rural counties as well,” said John Whitaker, executive director of the Midwest Food Bank.
The amount each family’s monthly SNAP benefits will decline in June will vary, based on household size, income and allowable deductions.
Meanwhile, the Midwest Food Bank is planning additional pop-up distributions in anticipation of the increased demand, Whitaker said.
“Some people try to make it, but then it just takes one incident to move them to where they really need to count on SNAP and with the way it’s being drawn back now, we going to have to step up our efforts,” he said.
As of February, more than 619,000 Hoosiers receive SNAP benefits.
For more information on how the end of the enhanced SNAP benefits may impact your family, click here.