The Food Bank of Delaware is helping to bridge the gap faced by families as emergency benefits end
The state is partnering with the Food Bank of Delaware to help families struggling with the loss of emergency food benefits.
Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, Delawareans enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program were given an additional $95 to $1,691 each month to help pay for food to feed their families, with additional money available for families with more than 8 people. Starting this month, that money is gone.
But as the public health emergency ended, so did those extra benefits - starting this month.
“But the bottom line is when you’ve gotten used to something for 3 years and that something is helping you put food on your table and make ends meet and keep your family whole- when that goes away that’s going to be hard regardless of whether you knew about it or not,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Cathy Kanefsky.
Her organization is receiving $3.24 million of the state’s American Rescue Plan funding to help bridge the gap.
Lt. Governor Bethany Hall Long says the state recognizes that, combined with inflation, the loss of emergency SNAP benefits makes it harder for families to put food on the table.
“The $3.34 million will hopefully be that difference necessary to be that safety net that makes sure no child, no adult, goes to bed hungry in Delaware,” said Hall Long.
The Food Bank has also struggled with rising food costs. As a result of the pandemic, the Food Bank permanently dropped the fees they previously charged pantries. While they have no plans to bring those fees back, the rising cost of food, decrease in donations, and increase in demand have taken a toll on the organization.
“We’re in a position where we’re paying more than we’ve ever paid to get food to distribute. So that perfect storm really had us worried,” Kanefsky explained.
She says these ARPA dollars will help them meet the growing demand in a lot of ways. They plan to use the additional funding to continue to help provide food to the 745 hunger relief partners in the state that work to meet the needs of the community they reside in.
“That’s really truly where I think this investment is making people whole,” said Kanefsky. “It’s actually helping us to make sure that those pantries, those closets, and those churches that have people that trust them have food available for them, right there in their neighborhoods, to access.”
The Food Bank plans to continue making their services more accessible through mobile pantries, healthy pantry centers, and free home deliveries.
They also remind Delawareans help is available year round. While this funding is only meant to help families during the transition, any family facing food insecurity is welcome to utilize their services.
More information on Food Bank services and making donations can be found at fbd.org.