Oklahoma Food Pantries See Massive Demand Surge After Emergency SNAP Benefits Ended
KOKH - July 26, 2023 5:59 am
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — Food banks and pantries throughout the state are feeding more people, months after emergency SNAP benefits ended.
Reaching Our City food pantry in Oklahoma City says they’ve helped feed nearly double the amount of households since emergency SNAP benefits ended in March,
“We’ve seen a massive increase in demand since those benefits have ended,” said Reaching Our City Executive Director, Jason Rowinski.
Emergency SNAP benefits gave every household receiving assistance maximum benefits to help them through the pandemic, but now that they have been taken away, Oklahomans are feeling the effects,
“A couple months ago when all of the changes started happening with the benefits, I had a mother come in and just kind of distraught and didn’t know what she was going to do, a single mom, five kids and said that her benefits without her realizing it had been drastically cut down,” said Mary Oaxaca with Reaching Our City, “She needed just some support for that month, so we were able to get her a basket of food and she was beyond grateful she just her eyes and she just started bawling.”
Some pantries in the state have even had trouble keeping up with the high demand,
“We have never ever run out of food, so that hasn’t been an issue,” Oaxaca said, “But there have been times where we stood back here in our huddle and we said we’re not sure if we’re going to be able to serve 80 households today.”
Officials expect the high need to continue, as inflation continues to hurt people’s pockets,
“If you’re here on a Tuesday or Thursday when our pantry is open, you’ll still feel slammed especially at the very beginning, there’s lines (that) will form out and around the corner and down the street,” Rowinski said, “We’ve always served between about 25,000/30,000 people a year, and I think we’re going to massively top that this year.”