TN food banks overwhelmed as pandemic SNAP benefits end

The national assistance program to help families during the COVID-19 pandemic ended in February.
(ALLISON DINNER | AP Photo/Allison Dinner)
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 9:53 AM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Pandemic-era S.N.A.P. benefits for people in need have ended, which means recipients must rely on community organizations for help to feed their families.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is an initiative run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and managed at the state level by the Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS).

St. Luke’s Community House said they are now focused on meeting this new demand.

Last year, St. Luke’s reported double the number of meals they normally serve and now expect more families to come with the end of the pandemic snap benefits.

As a result, they are more than doubling the space of their food bank with new shelves to organize canned goods and coolers to serve fresh fruit and meat.

They also work with other charities to get more food donations, while stocking baby formula, diapers, and other products for families who need them.

“Everyone is feeling the strain to get the items to those who need it,” said Melanie Shinbaum of St. Luke’s Community House.

Over at Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, they sorted 69,769 pounds of food, created 588 produce boxes, and provided 71,323 meals during the week of February 6.

Volunteers at Second Harvest donated more than 1,300 hours of their time during that week.

To find the nearest distribution center, anyone can dial 211 for assistance from United Way in Nashville.

SNAP was created as a bridge to help Tennesseans reach their full potential as self-sufficient contributing members of our community and economy.