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Harvest Public Media is a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Based at KCUR in Kansas City, Harvest covers these agriculture-related topics through an expanding network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest.Most Harvest Public Media stories begin with radio- regular reports are aired on member stations in the Midwest. But Harvest also explores issues through online analyses, television documentaries and features, podcasts, photography, video, blogs and social networking. They are committed to the highest journalistic standards. Click here to read their ethics standards.Harvest Public Media was launched in 2010 with the support of a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Today, the collaboration is supported by CPB, the partner stations, and contributions from underwriters and individuals.Tri States Public Radio is an associate partner of Harvest Public Media. You can play an important role in helping Harvest Public Media and Tri States Public Radio improve our coverage of food, field and fuel issues by joining the Harvest Network.

It's Unclear What The SNAP Benefits Increase Means For Food Pantry Traffic

Esther Honig
Harvest Public Media file photo

The Biden Administration is giving a historic, permanent boost to the amount of money people get each month through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, but the effect that will have on food pantries is still unclear. 

Des Moines Area Religious Councilsaw a boost in the number of people using its 14 partner food pantries during the pandemic, but as time went on, people started coming less often. DMARC’s Luke Elzinga said people have been getting a lot more money for food through pandemic emergency increases to the SNAP Program.

“When people have the money to spend at the grocery store on their food, they’re less likely to come to a food pantry,” Elzinga said.

Those emergency benefits are temporary, but starting in October, the average SNAP benefits per person will increase by more than $36 per month.

“It was a sorely needed increase,” Elzinga said. “We’ve needed it for years.”

Elzinga said some people will have more money to spend and might skip the food pantry, but others will get less SNAP money than they’ve been getting through emergency benefits.

“They’re going to be needing to fill that gap somehow,” Elzinga said. “And a lot of them were previously using food pantries to do so, so we expect that they will return.”

The SNAP increase begins Oct. 1. 

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Katie Peikes