Feds officially roll back emergency SNAP benefits for New Mexicans

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — On Wednesday, thousands of families in New Mexico began the month of March knowing it will be more difficult to buy the food they need.

March 1 marked the end of extra benefits for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. The federal government added them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In New Mexico, 516,537 adults and children receive the benefits, meaning nearly a quarter (24.4%) of people in the state are in the program.

The rollback comes as concerns over inflation continue for families across the country.

SNAP benefits will now go back to pre-pandemic amounts nationwide. A family of three will receive less than half, dropping from $740 a month to $335. A single person will see a decrease from $376 to $281 per month.

On KOB 4’s social media post, one person wrote, “I benefit from it and it helps. With rent and inflation, I’m worried.”

Another said, “The normal amount is crazy low with inflation so bad.”

The groups working to get food to people in need, like food banks, will now be even more important to many in New Mexico.

Representatives with Roadrunner Food Bank, which serves thousands each week, says all assistance matters, and the rollback of additional SNAP benefits will put a strain on both families and food banks.

“We have nowhere near gotten back to pre-pandemic hunger levels. We know that need is still very much elevated,” Roadrunner Food Bank spokesperson Sonya Warwick said.

She now expects there will be even more hunger.

“That need isn’t going to change tomorrow just because those benefits are different,” Warwick said.

Families will deal with this decrease as inflation continues to cause problems across the supply chain. Plus, donations are down, as food costs more for donors and organizations.

“For the food that we are able to go out and purchase, our dollars don’t go quite as far as they were going two and a half or three years ago,” Warwick said.

The New Mexico Association of Food Banks announced a new program on Wednesday meant to bolster supply. Under the Regional Farm to Food Bank Program, the association, the state and other groups will recruit more food producers in New Mexico to sell directly to food banks.

Anyone who wants to donate to Roadrunner Food Bank can do so on its website, where people can also sign up to volunteer.

Anyone needing help in New Mexico can call the food bank’s food assistance line, 505-349-5340, to get connected with resources in their area. The line is staffed Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.