PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The additional Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits offered during the pandemic have officially come to an end.
Throughout the pandemic, families receiving SNAP benefits were given a minimum of $95 extra each month toward groceries.
Come March, that additional money will no longer be available, leaving the Rhode Islanders who have been depending on it wondering how they’ll get by.
“It’s going to be hard, especially for single mothers,” one Rhode Island mom said. “The extra stamps they give to us isn’t a lot, but it’s a lot to us.”
The woman tells 12 News the extra stamps helped cover food costs for her and her two children each month.
“When they sent the letter that they were taking that away, it was kind of heartbreaking,” she said.
The last extra boost was paid out at the beginning of February.
Andrew Schiff, CEO of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, said more and more people are turning to them for help amid inflation.
“Food costs have gone up and benefits are going down,” he said. “It’s a bad combination.”
Schiff said the food bank has seen a 26% increase since the start of the pandemic.
He expects that percentage to increase by the end of March.
“It’s just going to continue after that,” he said. “How many? We’re not sure, but we are prepared for a lot more people who need help.”
Rhode Islanders who rely on SNAP should notify the state’s Department of Human Services on whether their cost of living has increased recently.
If it has, then the state can adjust their benefits accordingly.
Those in need of food assistance should call United Way of Rhode Island’s 211 hotline.