Oklahoma Food Bank Preparing for SNAP Changes

News 9 - February 13, 2023 6:50 am

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is gearing up for a surge of Oklahomans needing help to feed their families. At the end February, food stamp benefits will be slashed after being bolstered at the start of the pandemic.

In March of 2020, the federal government issued a temporary boost to SNAP benefits in response to the pandemic. The goal was to help low-income households hit hardest to purchase the food they need. Now, three years later, those emergency allotments are being suspended, impacting more than 855,000 Oklahomans.

“It’s been a way for them to supplement. It was an effort by the federal government to help provide assistance to those households that were most hit hard,” said Cathy Nestlen, the Director of Communications and Marketing for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

But by next month, emergency allotments will no longer be included in SNAP food-buying benefits, which will be a substantial change for any household depending on it.

The reduction will be “anywhere from a range of $55 per person to $255 per person per month,” said Nestlen. “It may not seem like a lot to people to think ‘oh $55 a month or $255 a month?’ But, it’s really going to hit those households that are already kind of on the edge quite hard.”

To Oklahomans living with hunger, it’s the ability to provide important nutrition to their families.

“Anyone who is receiving snap benefits is going to be impacted. People on disability are going to be hit hard, single parent households, we just anticipate across the board,” said Nestlen

Being aware of the coming change can help impacted households begin to prepare; Meanwhile, the food bank is preparing to be a resource. Nestlen says financial donations, food donations, volunteer work, and food drives can go a long way.

“We know that we’re going to need to source more food… and so we’re prepared and doing that already. We’re trying to get more donations in for food,” said Nestlen.

And where the Regional Food Bank receives help, it will always be given back to Oklahomans in need.

“If there’s anyone out there who needs food assistance, it’s available. The regional food bank… that’s why we’re here, that’s our mission. So, I just want to reassure folks that if they need food assistance, give us a call,” said Nestlen.

Any Oklahoman worried about putting food on the table is encouraged to visit the Regional Food Banks website at rfbo.org/gethelp to find a nearby food pantry.


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