Last week a Pandemic-era boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) ended in 32 states including Pennslyvania. Under the measure qualifying households were allowed an extra $95 a month to spend on food. While we’d all love to put the pandemic behind us, there is real concern about ending the program while food prices remain high. I reached out to Fiona Allison at the West Chester Food Cupboard to get her view of the situation here.
HWC: Are you worried about the end of the extra SNAP benefit?
Fiona: Yes, we are very concerned. Prices for food continue to be high and rents in West Chester are soaring.
We were seeing an increased need even before these cuts. In January, we saw a 47% increase in the number of local people coming to the Food Cupboard for food compared to 2022. We have also served 733 shoppers in the newly opened Express Pantry and increased our off-site outreach efforts, providing food to 14 local agencies and groups in the West Chester area. (It’s good to see so many children, for example, enjoying healthy after-school snacks.)
HWC: Who is affected by the cuts?
Fiona: We fear that anyone who receives SNAP benefits (including families and the elderly) will be affected and will see a cut to the benefits they receive.
HWC: How are current food supplies?
Fiona: Thanks to the generosity of our community, our supplies of food and other necessary items are good. However, we continue to need these ongoing donations so that we can continue to provide the quality and quantity of food that we know our neighbors want and need.
HWC: How can people help?
Fiona: We are always grateful to receive donations of food including pasta and pasta sauce, cereal, canned meat and fish, dried beans, and personal care items. Financial donations and gift cards (to Giant or ShopRite) are always welcome too. We can use these gifts to purchase the items we most need, and often on sale too.
Thank you again so much for reaching out to us, it was good to hear from you!
If you would like to make a donation, you can drop off items at the back of their Bolmar Street location from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. any morning but Sunday.
Originally published, Mar. 3, 2023
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