Emergency SNAP allocations set to expire in April

Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 9:46 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Rising food and gas prices, along with emergency pandemic support ending, is putting a strain on wallets.

Emergency SNAP allocations are an extra amount added on to what people usually get on their EBT cards. This emergency portion is set to end on April 15, along with the public health emergency in Virginia.

“This will put more pressure on our partner agency network and our just our distribution network in general,” Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Director of Programs Zach Nissen said.

This pressure is shown by just how many meals SNAP can provide.

“For every one meal that we can provide to a household SNAP provides nine meals,” Nissen said.

How much someone gets depends on their income level and number of people in their family.

“The SNAP program has a rigorous application process, verification process, its own criteria for eligibility. Income and citizenship status are usually sort of the biggest hurdles for folks to to overcome,” Nissen said.

“At the very beginning, we saw everybody, people who’d never been to a food pantry before and then a lot of the pandemic benefits kicked in, and the people who qualified for them didn’t have to come here anymore, which is fantastic for them,” Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry Executive Director Jane Colony Mills said.

With the possibility of those pandemic benefits ending, food banks are expecting more people to line up.

“We’ve seen a great need in our community,” Emergency Food Network Board Chair Miette Michie said.

The Emergency Food Network is one of the organizations rising to meet that need.

“We expect that our orders will go up and to that end we are now going to be open Wednesdays along with our Monday and Friday days that were open,” Michie said.

The extra cash is not guaranteed to dry up, the federal government could let Virginia extend the relief.

“Virginia SNAP benefits are already not on the generous side relative to other states, and so in many ways that talk about money has been bringing us up to where a lot of other states already are,” 57th District Delegate Sally Hudson said.

There are a lot of organizations trying to figure out what to do as pandemic support runs out.

“This runs through USDA and so there’s all sorts of different agencies that are trying to figure out what to do as various provisions of pandemic assistance expire,” Del. Hudson said.

If you are in need of support the information for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, Loaves and Fishes and the Emergency Food Network is linked.

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