Less money for groceries: Extra FoodShare benefits are expiring soon
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Food pantries are expecting to feel ripple effects as an expiration date looms for the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites getting FoodShare benefits.
Starting March 1, FoodShare (or food stamp, EBT, SNAP) recipients will no longer have the extra pandemic-era dollars to help pay for their groceries. They will start getting their regular benefits again, and compared to what they got during the pandemic, the difference may be obvious.
For example, a person who got $23 a month for FoodShare pre-pandemic, which is the minimum amount someone could get, got a boost of more than $200 during the pandemic.
“Everybody got the difference between their normal benefit and the maximum benefit for their household size, or $95, whichever was more,” Julia Wiebe, a FoodShare outreach specialist with Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin, explained.
As the federal government ends the COVID-19 program, Wiebe’s concern is that food prices are high.
“I know a lot of the food pantries that I visit are seeing record high numbers and people are needing to go to the food pantry as well as [use] their FoodShare dollars,” she said.
More than 700,000 Wisconsinites received food stamps in Nov. 2022, according to the most recent data from the Wis. Department of Health Services.
“We’re going to see an increase in the number of people coming to us,” Tracy Burton, pantry director at the Badger Prairie Needs Network (BPNN), said. “Then I think other people that currently come to us are going to need to get more food.”
Burton said BPNN is already serving twice as many people right now compared to this time last year. Numbers are four times pre-pandemic numbers, she said.
“We’re always looking at where our bottlenecks are and where our choke points are, and we’re addressing those in light of this hunger cliff coming,” Burton said. “We’re looking at it even more closely.”
More information on changes to FoodShare can be found here.
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