With federal food assistance rolling back and inflation still on the rise, the Delaware Food Bank has been busier than ever and they anticipate demand to continue to grow.
The federal government announced in January that extra SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps, were set to expire nationwide at the end of February. These emergency allotments have been in place since around the start of the pandemic.
Nearly 124,000 Delawareans have relied on this extra federal stipend for the past three years, which granted recipients the maximum amount of benefits for their household size. People received their last emergency allotment Feb. 28.
A study from the Urban Institute estimated that these emergency allotments kept over 4 million people out of poverty nationwide, including tens of thousands in Delaware.
Background:Food banks bracing as pandemic SNAP benefits end in Delaware next month
Families reliant on the SNAP program will now receive their “normal” stipend dating back to pre-pandemic days, dependent on the size of their family, income and expenses. Some individuals will now be receiving as little as $23 a month.
How to get help
The Food Bank will be returning to the drive-thru events held during the height of the pandemic. Starting the last week of March, around the same time SNAP families would have received the monthly installment of additional aid.
Drives will be held in each county:
Over 100 volunteers will be working these events, with the help of Delaware’s Department of Transportation to ensure people are getting help as quickly as possible. The Food Bank estimates that over 1,000 households will be served at each of these distributions.
The events are first-come-first-serve, but individuals can still pre-register. Proof of Delaware residence is required.
If you can’t make the food drives, there are other options available. Delawareans can reach out to the state’s 2-1-1 line for essential resources, and go to the DHSS website to check their benefit registration.
The Food Bank also distributes to food closets throughout the state, for more details on where to get help the Food Bank has details on their website.
2022 food distribution by the numbers
- Mobile pantries in the state were visited over 74,000 times
- Over 6 million pounds of food were distributed
- Newark and Milford centers were visited over 34,000 times combined
- 175,000 meal kits were distributed to children in need
Pressures on Delaware Food Bank
The Delaware Food Bank saw major drops in food donations during the pandemic that have lingered to this day, mostly due to supply-chain issues and inflationary restrictions on donors. Last year, donations were down by more than 2.5 million pounds of food.
“We’re seeing more people now than we did at the height of the pandemic,” said Kim Turner, communications director for the Delaware Food Bank. “In January and February 2023 we were seeing an average of 1,050 people per week. That’s a 74% increase compared to last year.”
More:Cheaper utility bills to arrive in Delaware on April 1
Before the pandemic began, the Food Bank purchased just under $490,000 worth of food. At the end of last year, that number rose to $4.7 million.
Turner said the Food Bank is hoping its distribution events at the end of the month will provide community members with the help that they need to ease the transition back to “normal” SNAP benefits amidst historic inflation.
The state will be providing $3.2 million in aid to ease the transition.
How to help
According to Turner, every dollar donated to the Food Bank provides three meals to people in need. Volunteer and donation information is available on the Delaware Food Bank’s website.
Food donations can be dropped off at either the Newark or Milford facilities.
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Contact Molly McVety at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @mollymcvety.