Regional food bank sees 53% increase since SNAP cut
May 3—LA GRANDE — The expanded food stamp benefits ended on the last day of February, and community members are already feeling the impact.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, those who received SNAP benefits were receiving the maximum allotted amount for their household size. According to Multnomah County's website, the maximum benefit allotment began in March 2020.
Northeast Oregonians are feeling the strain of the food stamp benefit reduction. According to Audrey Smith, manager of Community Connection's Northeast Oregon Regional Food Bank, there was a 53% increase in people utilizing all food-related services in Baker, Wallowa and Union counties in the month of March.
"The cost increase in everything has been the biggest issue for people," Smith said. "We are seeing people coming more often, and we are definitely seeing people make more trips between the food boxes to the food pantry."
The food bank is currently working on data for April. Food banks have until the 5th of each month to report their data.
"I really would like to stress that we have plenty of food. Even with the increase in demand, we do have plenty of food," Smith said. "If you need help but are worried about taking food away from others who need it, don't worry. The food bank is for everyone."
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Jillian Hoefer is a reporter for The Observer. Contact her at email@example.com.