ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Food pantries are bracing for a possible up-tick in demand as SNAP benefits in Illinois decrease.
Benefits will go back to pre-pandemic levels starting in March. About two million people in Illinois receive SNAP benefits, and families will see their benefits lowered anywhere between $90-$250 per person each month, depending on their household size and finances.
That is leaving people and pantries with big concerns.
“We are expecting to be impacted come March,” said Kim Adams-Bakke, executive director of the Rock River Valley Pantry. “For some people, they are losing maybe 40% of their SNAP benefits, and that has a really large impact on families.”
Adams-Bakke said that, as one of the food pantries in the stateline, they are preparing now for March. They are looking at where they can get additional food and buy from food brokers that big stores use.
“Hearing that one thing that we thought we could count on for shopping is being reduced means we are going to have to rethink how he is going to eat every month,” said local residents Jeff and Dusahn Volk.
The Volks said that they are retired. Their disabled son is on SNAP benefits, and they are concerned for him.
“How he is going to eat and get food that is nutritious throughout the month will be a big concern for him, and it’s a huge concern for us,” Jeff said.
“I look at our wonderful food pantries and I know they will be inundated with people who no longer have SNAP funds,” Dusahn added.
Adams-Bakke said that she knows this is going to force people to turn to food pantries across the stateline, and the area is already seeing it.
“Our new clients have increased by 89% from a year ago, and that is with SNAP benefits,” she said. “I’m going to leave you with the question; What kind of increase will we see come March?”
The Volk family said that this is not how people should live.
“I’m disappointed, because I think with some good brainstorming, we could have found better ways than to look at this community of people and say, ‘they’ll do fine, we can cut funds here and they’ll figure out a way to make it,’” Dusahn said. “I don’t know if that’s true.”
Rock River Valley Pantry encourages the community to help if they can.
Read More: Rockford food bank braces for end of extra SNAP benefits