Getting Answers: food insecurity on the rise as SNAP benefits end

Western Mass News is getting answers on how this is impacting local food pantries.
Published: Apr. 4, 2023 at 5:06 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Last month, pandemic SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps, came to an end, impacting more than 41 million Americans. Many Massachusetts families are receiving at least $151 less per month.

Western Mass News is getting answers on how this is impacting local food pantries.

“The Salvation Army emergency food pantry, we are open weekly,” Social Services Director Danielle Lataille told us. “We have actually seen a sizable increase between February and March, about a 51% increase in the number of people served between those two months.”

The Salvation Army in Springfield, and many others across the state, are seeing an uptick of people in need of help at their food pantries.

“When we actually pulled in this morning, there was a line waiting to enter the pantry upon opening, which was quite surprising to me,” Lataille said. “We were happy to serve all of those individuals, but it is kind of a foreshadowing of what’s to come. We’re going to keep seeing increases with the costs of food increasing and decreases in SNAP benefits.”

Lataille told Western Mass News that this rise in need comes over a month after pandemic SNAP benefits came to an end, affecting more than 630,000 Massachusetts homes as they now receive at least $151 less per month.

In Greenfield, they are also experiencing the same high demand, but not just for their food pantry.

“Here at the Salvation Army in Greenfield, in the month of March, we did see a 20% increase already in requests for services,” Corps Officer Paul Leslie told us. “We are seeing more requests in our food pantry, more requests for rent and mortgage assistance, and then our feeding program, as well.”

As for how people can help with the high demand:

“The Salvation food pantry can benefit from canned food drives if there’s any local businesses or schools that want to put together a canned food drive,” Lataille said. “There’s also monetary donations. We are very good at stretching a dollar, so we would make sure to put the money, the donations, to very good use to continue to serve our food insecure individuals and families.”

If you would like to make a donation to the Salvation Army, you may do so HERE.