As emergency SNAP benefits come to an end, eastern Iowa food banks prepare for inevitable demand increase

With emergency SNAP benefits ending in Iowa, food banks and pantries are anticipating a sharp increase in clients
Published: Mar. 18, 2022 at 8:43 PM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Emergency SNAP benefits for Iowa households will expire next month, which means these families will go back to normal pre-pandemic benefits. But food banks across eastern Iowa are now preparing for what they say will be a noticeable increase in demand.

”We are still running steady, close to the same numbers since the pandemic started,” Kathy Hutton, St. Stephen’s Food Bank’s site director, said.

Food insecurity in Dubuque County has been up at least 37 percent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, there are around 8,000 food-insecure people in the county. And now, with the state ending emergency SNAP benefits, staff at St. Stephen’s Food Bank predict the need might be even bigger.

”The families across the state of Iowa are gonna lose $27 million starting in April so that means they have got to replace that food somehow,” Hutton explained.

She added inflation and rising gas prices could also mean fewer people could afford food, so she said local food banks are preparing beforehand to try to be as ready as possible.

“We have a food source that is employed through River Bend and there is also food sources that are employed through Feeding America, which we are a part of that network, and they are working to try to bring donations in,” Hutton mentioned. “And, also, if somebody wants to have a food drive that is always very much appreciated and blessed.”

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