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Long lines at food banks after pandemic SNAP benefits end

HAZEL GREEN, Ky. (NewsNation) — Food banks across the U.S. are feeling pressure to provide following the end of extra pandemic-era SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called the Food Stamp Program) benefits.

Long lines are back at food banks as families have become overwhelmed with inflation and are returning to food banks to help feed themselves.

Kathleen Kissinger was among hundreds of families Friday lined up in a car lane outside the Hazel Green Food Project. Kissinger said she’s come to the food bank about six times to pick up food for her and her son.

“He says it helps him so much. I called him and said, “Were you able to use any of it?” He says “Oh Lord, mom I can use it all,” Kissinger said.

About 30% of Hazel Green’s population lives in poverty; however, residents across Kentucky are traveling to the Hazel Green Food Project for assistance with food insecurity.

In 2021, more than 42 million Americans were using SNAP benefits to help afford food, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Americans who were clinging to the additional benefit doled out during the pandemic lost at least $95 per month after the emergency allotment expired.

Amid soaring inflation and now with less federal assistance, it’s a significant hardship for many Americans.

Between January 2022 and January 2023, food cost is up 10%, according to the latest Consumer Price Index data.

Communities across the nation, including Virginia, Texas, Maryland and West Virginia, are reporting surges in people looking for assistance.

The Hazel Green Food Project hands out food all day until they run out. Those in the back of the lines oftentimes leave with less than they need as food runs out.

The food bank is asking for donations to help more Kentuckians.

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