Lines stretch down block at food banks as costs go up and pandemic aid expires

Photo: Getty Images (Fair Use)

On a recent Saturday morning, the line outside the American Red Cross Food Pantry in Boston stretched for the length of two football fields, painting a grim picture of the current situation.

The director, David Andre, revealed that the number of people seeking assistance at the red-brick industrial-zone warehouse now surpasses the worst periods of the pandemic-induced economic crisis.

In fact, April witnessed the second highest monthly traffic since the pantry’s establishment in 1982, the New Brunswick News reported.

Similar to food banks across the nation, Andre’s organization has been overwhelmed with requests for help as food-stamp recipients face a double blow.

Firstly, the temporary increase in benefits, implemented during the pandemic, expired.

Secondly, the burden of rising grocery prices, which have escalated by 24% compared to pre-COVID levels, exacerbates the situation.

Andre aptly describes this predicament as a “hunger cliff” resulting from inflation and the termination of emergency allotments. He further notes that people are truly struggling to make ends meet.

At the end of February, approximately 32 million Americans experienced a reduction in their monthly food stamp benefits, with an average decrease of around $90 per person.

Some households suffered even deeper cuts. With the discontinuation of emergency allotments for food stamps, the process of unwinding a series of COVID-19 relief measures is essentially complete.

These measures had played a crucial role in preventing a widespread wave of destitution during the crisis and had even contributed to a 20-year low in child poverty rates.

Unfortunately, the number of Americans experiencing hunger now exceeds the peak levels witnessed during the height of pandemic aid, as reported by the New Brunswick News.

According to estimates from the Census Bureau, around 24.6 million adults did not have enough food to eat in early April, compared to 16.7 million adults facing a similar situation two years ago.

Written by staff