INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WEHT) – June 1 marks the end of emergency enhanced SNAP benefits for Hoosiers statewide.

The Salvation Army says in anticipation of increased demand, its Indiana Division is working to ensure that feeding programs and food pantries run by the organization across the state can continue to meet the needs of their communities.

The news release says Indiana’s COVID emergency ended on March 3, making May 31 the final day that many SNAP recipients will receive the maximum benefit allowed. Starting June 1, benefits will be based on several factors, including household income. A permanent adjustment to the program made in October 2021 means that most households will receive higher benefits than they did pre-pandemic, but they will still experience a drop from May to June. To figure out what differences certain households will have, please visit this website.

The Salvation Army says it has already seen more visits to its food pantries and hot food programs over the past several months as inflation has made it harder for Hoosiers to put food on the table. According to the USDA, between April 2021 and April 2022 grocery store prices have risen by 10.8 percent. Fresh produce, milk, eggs, and meat prices are continuing to skyrocket with farm-level egg prices predicted to increase us to 76.5 percent in 2022. These higher prices mean that struggling households are bringing home less food each time they go to the store, pushing them to find supplemental food at organizations like The Salvation Army.

“The cost of food, housing, medical, and transportation has not been put into consideration regarding the ending of the pandemic emergency funds,” said Dena Simpson, Divisional Director of Social Services for The Salvation Army Indiana Division. “Individuals and families are in recovery mode and facing a number of challenges.”

The news release says these challenges include:

  • Drained savings and strained finances
  • Loss and/or change in housing and utility needs
  • Increased instances of domestic violence
  • Ongoing COVID-related medical needs
  • Loss of primary income provider for the family
  • Larger households with combined and extended families
  • Changes in childcare and educational needs and routines

The Salvation Army says in Evansville, the daily feeding program provided over 188,000 meals to the community in 2021. They are depending on the generosity of donors, food suppliers, and volunteers to keep up in 2022 and the expected jump they will see over the summer.

“The Salvation Army Indiana Division is anticipating an increase of individuals and families facing food insecurities.,” Dena Simpson added. “Our pantries across the state need supplies as we continue to meet the needs of families in our communities and offset the exorbitant cost of housing, transportation, medical, and other needs we consider basic.”