© 2023 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Local food pantries to see impact of end of SNAP benefits

Payne Horning
WRVO News (file photo)

Local food pantries expect to see the impact of the end of federal emergency SNAP benefits.

For the first time in three years, the extra SNAP benefits, meant to help low-income families navigate the pandemic, are gone. While the program ended in February, Major Charles Roberts, director of county operations for the Salvation Army in Syracuse, expects to see the impact of that starting, because those benefits always came mid-month.

"We’re thinking a lot of families may not know until it doesn’t come," Roberts said. "I’m hoping it’s not a super surprise but it may be that when they try to go mid-month, and there’s nothing on their SNAP account, we haven’t seen the impact yet, but we do expect that they’ll be devastated by that."

This comes as the need at the army has grown substantially, with a 21% increase in meals served at its downtown facility already in 2023, compared to the same time last year.

"Folks are stressed for any number of reasons and may come to the realization those benefits aren’t there, and then they’ll hit pantries for food support,” Roberts said.

The end of the program means a loss of at least $95 a month for low-income families. An estimated 70,000 people in Onondaga County are expected to lose benefits.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.