Millions at risk of food insecurity as emergency assistance program ends

“If you need help just come”
Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 7:05 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - At the start of the COVID-19 crisis, millions of people were struggling. In response, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in 2020 which temporarily boosted food stamp benefits.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act expires Tuesday, leaving many to deal with the rising cost of groceries.

During the pandemic, Andrianne Bafford was receiving $95 in extra food assistance each month, money that helped provide meals for her family. With extra food assistance ending, less money means she will have to cut back.

“I was telling my brother, ‘You can’t eat four eggs at one time. Eggs are too expensive for you to eat like that. Now you’re looking at it and you’re counting the cost for everything,’” Bafford said.

Rickey Horston is the manager at a local food bank. He said this change could affect where LMTS Outreach Center gets its food and the variety of food provided.

“It kind of makes it a little worse now and a little harder,” Horston said.

For some, that little bit of extra money means everything. As extra food assistance ends, less money means many will be having to cut back.

“You’ve got people who are working two jobs, but they are low-paying jobs,” Bafford said. “If you’ve got a low-paying job and you’re working 40 hours and you’ve got to pick between paying rent or my baby going hungry, I may be short.”

Bafford is not alone and food banks across the country are preparing for a rise in food insecurity.

“We make sure the shelves are hopefully full as much as we can,” Horston said.

Bafford said if she needs something from the Food Bank she will take it, but if she doesn’t need it she will leave it for someone who does need it.

Households across the country are feeling the impact of inflation. Meanwhile, expired programs like Family First Emergency Response leave many to question where or how they will pay for their next meal.

According to the Urban Institute, the extra benefits kept four-million people out of poverty and reduced child poverty by 14%.

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