COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The program formerly known as food stamps, now the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has just received the largest national benefit increase in history, with 42 million Americans benefiting from the increase, including some here in central Ohio.
“SNAP is really the nation’s largest safety net, so whenever there’s an increase that allows people to have more access and more help, that’s a good thing,” said Malik Perkins with the Mid-Ohio Food Bank.
That good thing, Perkins said, increases benefits by more than 25 percent from pre-pandemic levels starting in October.
From $85 a month to $121 for a single person, up to $835 a month for a family of four, which rarely covers everything.
“Where we come in is the things that they weren’t able to get with their SNAP benefits, they can come to us to get the rest of those items that they need,” Perkins said.
And the pandemic created food insecurity in central Ohio like never before.
“A little bit more than 30 percent of our customers have come to us for the first time, which means they have not been in our system at all in the last 10 years,” Perkins said.
The increased benefits are scheduled to last through the 2022 fiscal year, with the belief that for many, the need will last well beyond that.
“It’s going to take a few years for people to catch up, so we’ve already anticipated the increased need for food is something that’s going to last for a while,” Perkins said.