CORRECTION: A previous version of this story quoted the federal end-dates for emergency SNAP benefits. That date is April 16, 2022 for Hoosiers since Gov. Holcomb's Emergency Pandemic Order was allowed to expire.
FRANKLIN — Hoosiers who have relied on emergency SNAP benefits during the pandemic will no longer have access to those additional benefits in mid-April.
This is all because the state's pandemic public health emergency declaration is no longer in effect.
“When they hear that the food stamps are cut, that's going to scare some of the people. This is at a time when food prices are rising. We all face that when we go to the supermarket and the under-resourced people it hits extra hard because they don’t have the money to start with to afford that,” said Carol Phipps, executive director of Franklin-based Interchurch Food Pantry of Johnson County.
Since April 2020, Federal COVID-19 emergency funding has allowed Hoosiers who benefit from the SNAP program to receive the maximum amount.
“At the start of the pandemic, things doubled. People were really struggling and panicking. Now, we continue to see about 30 percent more than pre-pandemic, and the numbers have not receded,” Phipps said.
The food pantry has been around for more than 30 years and serves all Hoosiers.
Jean Mills has been going there for the last three years.
“It helps with groceries and especially now that the grocery prices are so high that when you live on social security, you don’t have a lot of money,” Mills said.
Mills makes the trip from Greenwood to use the pantry at least once a month. She says when you are trying to feed children the extra food helps.
“The food is good, it's not outdated, it helps with your grocery bill and as you can, other people do too,” Mills added.
The latest numbers from January show more than 607,000 Hoosiers received snap benefits.
Due to the expiration of the Governor's Emergency Pandemic Order and subsequent ending of the health emergency, the extra benefits those Hoosiers are receiving is set to expire on April 16, 2022.
“When you live on social security and a certain amount of money and you got to pay rent well do you eat or pay rent. So this helps out with paying for the food,” Mills said.
Interchurch Food Pantry of Johnson County is looking for volunteers. Those interested should visit the pantry's website.
If you need help finding a food pantry in your area, click here.
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