Nearly 400,000 Alabama households losing pandemic-era food stamp benefits in March

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) — Nearly 400,000 homes in Alabama will slash their food stamps by up to $170 starting next month.

That’s because the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) emergency grants set up during the pandemic expire in March. They were intended to give lower-income families a financial boost.

That additional $95 will be eliminated in March and SNAP benefit amounts will return to normal.

The new government spending law ends the program for Alabama and over 25 other states that have emergency allocations through February.

Care center chief executive Andrea Bridges fears the cuts will mean it will be harder for them to help and families will have to make tough choices.

“We already have neighbors who often have to make the decision between buying medicine or buying groceries,” Bridges said.

Now with less money to play with, many families will have to make do with less. That’s something that’s not lost on Brandon Hardin, Alabama’s Food Assistance Director. He says local food banks in other states are already feeling the pinch.

“The states that moved away from this a few months ago have seen increases in some of their food supplies,” Hardin explained.

That’s what worries Andrea Bridges. She fears her food supply in New Hope will be hit harder, and the SNAP cuts come as inflation hits many Americans where it hurts.

“We are already seeing a need for these families to help with toiletries and related items that are not covered by SNAP benefits,” Bridges said. “We have already seen the number of neighbors to our pantry increasing and our shelves are a bit empty at the moment. We don’t usually have empty shelves.”

Hardin explains that the emergency allocations allowed many families to stock up on basic needs in a healthy way and get healthy fruits and vegetables.

Bridges explains those likely to be hit hardest by the SNAP cuts. “The majority of people we see in our pantry are elderly people on very stable incomes and single parents with multiple children who just need a little extra help to get through the end of the month,” Bridges said.

Alabama Human Resources Department officials say more than 725,000 state residents are receiving food stamps.

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