As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its third year, low-income families who have been relying on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to put food on the table are bracing themselves for tough times ahead. The federal government has announced that the pandemic-era payments started to be trimmed from March 1 on, leaving millions of families without crucial assistance.
According to a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the average household will lose $95 a month in groceries, while some recipients will lose hundreds of dollars a month, depending on their family size and income. This sudden loss of benefits will undoubtedly put a strain on already tight budgets and force families to make difficult choices about which necessities to prioritize.
These Food Banks, NGOs and Other Organizations Could Help You Deal With the SNAP Benefits Reduction
The timing of this decision could not be worse, as wages continue to stagnate and food prices continue to soar. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that food prices alone are up 10.1% from a year ago, with essentials like butter up 31% and breakfast cereals and bread each up 15%. These price hikes disproportionately affect low-income families who are already struggling to make ends meet.
Luckily, in most of the US states, there are organizations that could help you deal with the situation. Now, we’re going to focus on the Greater Cleveland Area and the food giveaway groups that are giving a hand to those in the need.
Despite the pandemic-related cuts to SNAP benefits, residents of Cleveland can still find help and support in their community. The generosity and hard work of these organizations is making a real difference in the lives of those who are needed the most. The City of Cleveland, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, the Cuyahoga County Metropolitan Housing Authority, and the Cleveland Department of Public Health have partnered to host five food giveaways every month.
Pop-up Events for the SNAP Beneficiaries in Greater Cleveland and Other US Cities
These pop-up events are being held at various locations throughout the city, and offer residents boxes of fresh produce and other healthy grocery items. Since the pop-ups started in April, they have served over 1,651 individuals and 561 households, according to Cleveland spokeswoman Marie Zickefoose.
Residents can pick up food on a first-come-first-served basis, but the coalition has not had to turn anyone away empty-handed. The pop-ups will continue through the summer, with a reevaluation at that point to determine if there is still a need to offer this service.
In addition to the pop-ups, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank has a “Find Food Near Me” tool, and the Hunger Network has an online map of food pantries and hot meal sites. The Produce Perks program, in partnership with select Dave’s Supermarkets and local farmers’ markets, doubles the value of SNAP benefits. The United Way 2-1-1 helpline and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless also offer resources for food, clothing, housing, and other needs.
If you’re not around those cities, you could find your nearest food bank thanks to the Feeding America “Find Your Local Food Bank” webpage. Enter here, put your zip code or state, and find the nearest organization helping eradicated the hunger in America.