ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – As of March 1, 2023, additional Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit funding is officially over. The additional funds began as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve been freezing things, things like that so that we’ll have additional things to eat when we don’t have the extra money that was coming in before,” explained one Abilene woman, who chose to remain anonymous.

She says her family relies on the extra funds and ending them could not have come at a more difficult time.

“Especially now with the food prices going up more than they were before, it’s going to be even more of a hardship,” she said. “Because we were already struggling to begin with, with the food prices going up and now losing these funds, it’s going to be even tighter.”

Summer Menchaca with the Foodbank of West Central Texas said they’re anticipating more people in need once the additional benefits end.

“Every eight out of ten (food bank visitors) usually already have SNAP benefits, so that is a big program that does have a lot of recipients, especially in our area,” Summer detailed.

The food bank has certainly been prepping with more food but trying to also inform those in the community.

“One thing we have done is inform many of our clients that we already speak with that this is coming to a change (and) giving them information about local pantries that they may not be aware of, giving them the schedule providing that to them, so they know where they can go get food if needed,” Summer explained.

An opportunity for those in need of food assistance is on the first Wednesday of every month, the food bank holds its mobile distribution drive-through food pantry from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at St Vincent Pallotti Church. If you are on Medicare, or Medicaid or already have SNAP benefits, you automatically qualify for food assistance. If not or unsure, then it’s income-based.

The process is easy, Summer said, ‘We do registration on sight, they’re able to fill out the paperwork that’s needed. Then once we go over that information, we send them through, load their vehicles up, and send them on their way.”

Giving compassion and assurance in the form of food.

“It’s really good because they give us nice fresh foods that we can use and also frozen foods that we can use for later. So it’s good, it’s a nice little supplement for what we won’t be able to buy with the funds we won’t be getting any more,” the anonymous source expressed.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding food insecurity, you may visit the Foodbank of West Central Texas’ website for more information.