Local expert concerned for families after SNAP benefit emergency allotments end

(AP Photo/Allison Dinner)
(AP Photo/Allison Dinner)(ALLISON DINNER | AP)
Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 8:53 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Starting in March, millions of Americans including some of you right here in Southwest Virginia are getting less money in SNAP benefits after the emergency allotments ended last month.

It has some health experts worried about the number of people who may go hungry.

“Households that are living within poverty, they have to make some really difficult decisions between housing, transportation, child care, prescriptions or medication costs and food and generally what happens is that the food budget basically shrinks as all of those other expenses take higher priority in a lot of ways,” said Elena Serrano, Virginia Cooperative Extension Family Nutrition Program Director.

Serrano said even though we’ve been able to return to almost normal after COVID, living costs continue to outpace family income.

This means people who were already at risk for food insecurity will most likely struggle even more.

She said even with the added emergency allotments, SNAP benefits were not covering food costs for a lot of families.

“When we look at the decline of let’s say ninety five dollars a month for a family of four, that could equate with between one to two meals a week for that family depending obviously on the ages of the individuals in the household assuming you’re preparing food at home and other factors so it could have a very devastating impact on those households,” said Serrano

If you are struggling, there is hope and help out there.

You can call the free National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-348-6479 or Virginia 2-1-1 for resources.