The Neighbors’ Place providing food assistance to over 100 new families
WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - For roughly three years, families struggling with the impact of COVID-19 qualified for extra money to help put food on the table, but not anymore after the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, ended at the beginning of March.
In Wisconsin, those benefits are called Food Share.
The program kept 4.2 million people out of poverty according to the Urban Institute. The Neighbors’ Place Executive Director Donna Ambrose said they’ve seen a big uptick in families coming to them for help and the cut-back has been a huge blow. Not even one full month into reduced assistance, 104 new households who have never been to The Neighbor’s Place have walked through the door.
For the average family using Food Share, they’re receiving $97 less per month, according to Ambrose. Many are now struggling to afford one of life’s basic necessities like food.
“What that tells me is there were many people that were doing okay with the SNAP benefits or food share that they were receiving that they didn’t need the supplemental assistance here at The Neighbors’ Place,” said Ambrose.
Payments decreased anywhere from $95 to $250. Ambrose said it took a significant hit on families’ budgets and inflation isn’t helping.
“Food prices have gone up. For some items, it’s been double digits since last year. Then when you have that benefit taken away, higher grocery costs, and people that were really struggling, the ones we serve, are still trying to get caught up,” said Ambrose.
Many are still dealing with the impacts of the pandemic, according to Ambrose. Which is forcing some to make tough decisions.
“When people don’t have enough they make trade-offs,” said Ambrose. For example, having to choose between buying diapers and putting food on the table. The new diaper bank at The Neighbors’ Place is helping families who are now facing that situation.
Ambrose said if your family is struggling, they are there to help. “Our goal is to make it a space where you don’t even think about it as a food pantry anymore. it’s just another resource that’s available to you in your community,” said Ambrose.
With the increased need they need more help running the pantry. If you are interested in volunteering or donating click here.
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