MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Food Banks in Memphis and across the country are bracing for a surge in demand because extra SNAP benefits for roughly 30 million Americans ended this week.

WREG took a look at how the Mid-South Food Bank is preparing to see an increase in demand as they try to put food on more tables.

For many families already struggling during the COVID-19 shutdown with job losses and rising inflation, they had been able to qualify for extra money for food. However, those benefits have ended even as the cost of groceries continues to rise.

“It seems like the cat eats better than I do sometimes,” said SNAP benefits recipient Richard Stover. “I’m thinking about the other families that could use that extra hundred dollars, especially the ones that have children.”

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP is run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It helps low-income families buy food and, during the pandemic, allowed participants to receive the maximum monthly benefit to cushion the blow of COVID-19.

But those extra benefits ended this week even as congressional leaders clashed over the need to help families versus abuse.

At the Mid-South Food Bank on South Perkins, many families rely on SNAP benefits.

“We’ve seen an increase over the last couple of years of maybe 10 to 15 percent of people needing SNAP benefits,” said Nicole Willis, Marketing and Communications Manager with the food bank.

The food bank has SNAP Outreach Coordinators in Tennessee and Mississippi to help people with applications. They’re bracing for a surge.

“With Snap being cut, we will see an increase of people coming to our partner agencies needing food. So, we will see more people coming in,” Willis said.

Now as many people look for new ways to help feed their families, the Mid-South Food Bank says they’ll be around to help.

“As long as we have it, the food is coming in and the money is coming in for us to purchase food, and if anybody wants to donate money or food that will help the community as we may see this surge,” Willis said.

The Mid-South Food Bank also says many families can find additional help by visiting mobile food pantries, brick-and-mortar pantries, churches, and soup kitchens in the Memphis area. See a list of locations here.

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