End of Long-Term Unemployment Bad News for Food Bank - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

End of Long-Term Unemployment Bad News for Food Bank

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The end of long-term unemployment benefits could mean another unexpected blow to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.

The food bank is concerned that, with another assistance program being cut or eliminated, demand will increase. A lot of the concern is based on what the food bank has already seen happen within the last few weeks. When SNAP cuts went into effect in November, the food bank noticed a significant increase in the amount of people reaching out for its services.

Charlottesville branch manager Joseph Caputi says since the SNAP benefits were cut, throughout the four branches of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, there has been an increase of 5,000 people in a month. He says the food bank has also seen an increase within the agencies it serves in Charlottesville.

Caputi knows the hit to people in need could mean another spike in demand, but with the support of partners, the food bank should be OK.

"We're always hopeful. We're always grateful for the generosity of our donors, the individuals and businesses that do food drives and collect food for us, and we hope they'll continue that and know that the need - even though it's after Christmas - never ceases,” Caputi said.

It's estimated nearly 10,000 Virginians lost long-term unemployment. And according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, nearly 900,000 Virginians were impacted by SNAP cuts.

The food bank says it still needs to process the number of donations that have come in during the holiday rush, an estimated 15,000 pounds of food.

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