Over 40,000 households in Montgomery County have enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, since 2020. The federal government approved a temporary boost to SNAP benefits in early 2020 to minimize food insecurity during shutdowns and social distancing. This boost has provided an average of $90 more per person per month to SNAP recipients. However, this temporary boost is set to end in March, which is expected to impact many individuals.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, a recent omnibus budget package approved by the federal government, did not include money for SNAP emergency allotments. This has raised concerns among local agencies in Montgomery County that they will see more clients seeking help with food assistance after the temporary boost ends.
Lee Lauren Truesdale, the chief development officer at the Dayton Foodbank, noted that the boost has been in place for a long period, and people have become used to it. The end of the boost is expected to desperately impact many individuals who have been budgeting for those dollars for the past two to three years.
Local agencies like the Dayton Foodbank and the Dayton Metro Library are encouraging families and seniors to seek help at the library. In October 2022, 10 Dayton metro libraries opened food pantries at their locations. Allison Knight, with the Dayton Library, noted that anyone who needs resources or food is encouraged to come to the library for help. As a pantry partner under the food banks umbrella, they have a list of all the pantries that they can sort by zip code to help clients find another pantry that is open the right hours that works with their schedule that’s conveniently located that they can get to, to get some additional assistance.
There’s no limit to how many times someone can use the pantry at any of the libraries, according to Knight. The Foodbank also recently hired a SNAP outreach specialist to help clients with enrollment into the program or to help answer general questions about it.
Truesdale suggests families who will lose their extra monthly payments to their remaining SNAP benefits for basics like meats or milk, or eggs and use the pantry to supplement their grocery list. She notes that there’s no shortage of food at the food bank. “Use your funds maybe to buy canned goods or to buy meat products,” Truesdale said. “And then come see us or a partner agency to get your produce or to get your bakery products.”
Partner agencies are also serving hot meals or food boxes across Greene, Montgomery and Preble Counties. The omnibus bill passed by Congress increases social security benefits and creates funding for a permanent summer EBT food program for some school kids who are out of school in the summer and might be eligible for food assistance.