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Extra SNAP benefits to end as Food Bank of CNY works to make sure no child is hungry

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

People who rely on the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program may be surprised to find changes to their monthly benefits this spring.

The extra 15% boost in SNAP benefits that eligible families were receiving are coming to an end. Starting in March, the benefits and eligibility requirements will return to pre-pandemic status.

They will now be based on our household income rather than the number of people in your home. Maximum monthly benefits will increase from last year, but the additional emergency boost will end next month.

Food Bank of Central New York delivers bags of food to students at Webster Elementary School in Syracuse (CNYCentral photo)

The Food Bank of Central New York works year-round to help fight hunger in our community. Many of the people they serve are children.

The Food Bank provides 1,500 meals per week at its 11 Kids Cafe sites across Syracuse. During the summer months, the agency gives out 2,500 meals a week through it Summer Food Service Program.

From Oneida County to the city of Syracuse, the Food Bank partners with school districts to give out bags of food each week, making sure no child knows hunger here in Central New York.

CNYCentral was with the Food Bank delivery team as they dropped off special packages at Webster Elementary School in Syracuse last week. "We have macaroni and cheese. We have peanut butter and jelly and we have fruit," said Mamie Howard, a school social worker. "They're items also that the students can carry," she said.

Webster is an inner city school on the north side of Syracuse with 700 students.

"We have students coming to our school with various needs." - Mamie Howard, Webster Elementary School Social Worker

Many of the Pre-K through 5th grade students get breakfast and lunch at school, but school staff do not know if they will have enough to eat when they go home. "We have to come with the mindset that we have families that are in desperate need of food. And so just thank G-D for agencies like the Food Bank," Howard said.

Each week, the Food Bank delivers bags of food to kids identified as being food insecure. To protect their privacy, kids become part of what they call "the club" and head to the cafeteria on Friday to get something special in their backpack.

Rufus Kearse runs the Child Nutrition Program for the Food Bank. He and his team deliver 680 bags of food per week to 11 schools in Syracuse each week. "I love it so much because I'm able to see it every single day in my community," Kearse said.

Rufus Kearse, Child Nutrition Manager for the Food Bank of Central New York, delivers bags of food to students at Webster Elementary School in Syracuse (CNYCentral photo)

Rufus grew up going to after school programs in Syracuse and feels grateful to now be a role that helps the community that gave him so much, spreading kindness and love and making a difference right here in Central New York. "There is so much of a need. There's so many people in the world that need it," he said. "So for me, it feels good to be able to give back."

We hope you will joins us for our 10th annual Help Fight Hunger telethon on Thursday, January 26. CNYCentral is once again teaming up with the Food Bank of CNY, CXtec and Cumulus Media to help fight hunger in our community.

One in 8 people are food insecure and does not know where their next meal will come from. Every dollar donated with supply 3 meals to local families in need. The phones will be open from 5am-8pm.

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