LOGAN COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – A decrease in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits could have a big impact on local food banks. WOWK 13 News talked with two food banks in the region who said they’re both expecting the amount of people in need to increase the next few months.
“We do our food pantry on the second and fourth Wednesday’s of each month. On the first Wednesday that we do it, you don’t see as many people, but then near the end of the month that’s when we see our bigger crowds,” said Chad Akers, Director of Hungry Lambs Food Initiative in Logan County. “We are a little worried that with the SNAP benefits dropping that we are going to see even more people than we already do.”
At the Hungry Lambs’ food distribution on Wednesday, March 8, the organization served 171 families from Logan, Boone, Lincoln and Mingo counties. Akers said in total, the food that was distributed will feed 490 people with about half of them ranging from 18 to 59 years old.
“They have to be careful what they spend their benefits on, and they have to watch what they buy so they have enough to last them the whole month,” said Roy Newsome, a volunteer. “They have to plan their meals out carefully, and buy the things that are going to last the longest and make it through the month.”
Nancy Flemings, a Logan County resident, is just one of many people who are affected by the decrease in benefits. Before the extra pandemic money was cut, she received $287 every month, but now receives $100 per month.
“I tell you it’s going to be hard on a lot of people without the extra food stamps, but we’ll make it one way or the other,” Flemings said.
Jordan Vickers has been volunteering at Hungry Lambs for almost a year. She has three kids and understands the strain increased food prices has caused on families like hers.
“There are a few families that I know that the SNAP decrease is going to put a strain on them financially with the prices going up and their benefits being decreased,” Vickers said. “Our weekly trips to the store have increased exponentially. So much of the money that we make goes into buying groceries.”
Over the last few weeks, Vickers and other volunteers said they’ve seen more people with and without SNAP benefits stopping by to pick up food.
“We’re hoping that we’re able to take care of everyone. We’re not going to turn anyone away,” Akers said. “We will give you what we got, but we’re going to try to get as much food as we can so that we can stay on top of it and be able to handle the more people that we’re going to get because we know we’re going to get more people.”
Hungry Lambs distributes food to those in need every other Wednesday starting at 11 am. Even though it’s located in Logan County, Akers said anyone in need of food is welcome to attend.
Mountain Mission Food Bank says they have not seen an increase in those in need just yet this month, but are preparing for and expecting more people to need help as benefits start to run out closer to the end of the month.