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Delawareans receive food at mobile pantry during "SNAP gap"

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
Volunteers load cars with food during a mobile pantry organized by the Food Bank of Delaware Friday in New Castle

The Food Bank of Delaware held a mobile food pantry in New Castle Friday to address the “SNAP gap” caused by the recent partial government shutdown.



February SNAP benefits were issued early because of the shutdown, creating a span of more than six weeks before the next set of benefits are loaded to EBT cards on March 4.

Samantha Estep, a SNAP client from New Castle, attended Friday’s mobile food pantry. She says her household can usually stretch SNAP benefits through at least the last week of the month - but the “SNAP gap” has made that harder.

“It’s a long time. We have four kids in the house and three adults. So it’s been pretty difficult actually,” said Estep.

Kim Turner is with the Food Bank of Delaware. She says under normal conditions, SNAP benefits do not last the full month for most recipients. She notes SNAP benefits are only meant to be supplementary.

“We know for low-income people there’s a struggle year-round. But the SNAP gap definitely was an impact on people,” said Turner.

Turner says Friday’s event and the Food Bank’s two other large mobile food pantries this month have each served hundreds of SNAP recipients.

The state Division of Social Services also changed the SNAP issuance schedule for March to shorten the gap.  

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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