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Wisconsin State Journal interviews MOM Program Manager for story on FoodShare changes

Wisconsin State Journal interviews MOM Program Manager for story on FoodShare changes
January 27, 2023 MOM Newsfood pantry

A new story in the Wisconsin State Journal covers how the pandemic-era boost in federal funding that some families receive to buy groceries is coming to an end in February, another blow for those already struggling to afford food during a time of high inflation. The story includes interviews with people affected by this change and staff from area food pantries who expect to see increased demand, including MOM:

At the Middleton Outreach Ministry Food Pantry, 3502 Parmenter St., program director Meghan Sohns said inflation has hurt the pantry’s ability to purchase as much food as needed, even as need increased.

“In November 2021, we gave people 39,226 meals,” Sohns says. “Compared to November 2022, it was 81,287.”

Like Kane, Sohns said the federal pandemic-related aid provided a temporary reprieve for those who depend on food pantries.

“We saw at the beginning of the pandemic, there was the eviction moratorium, people were getting the extra FoodShare benefits, the child tax,” Sohns said. “And as that has decreased over the last two years, we’re seeing a significant increase. So we’re expecting a significant increase in usage and pounds (of food going) out.”

The story notes that families enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), called FoodShare in Wisconsin, will see benefits reduced by at least $95 a month after Congress voted late last year to end the extra support added during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from January to December of last year, grocery prices increased 11.8%, with a 15.3% hike for dairy products alone. On average, 45,184 Dane County households receive FoodShare benefits each month, according to the Wisconsin Department of Human Services.

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