It’s been one month since emergency COVID benefits were taken away from SNAP recipients, and families across the region have been taking a real hit.

According to the Second Harvest Food Bank, families and the elderly were the group of recipients who were affected the most.

“The people that need it the most seem to be the people who are affected the worst,” said Bonnie Rearick, SNAP outreach coordinator, Second Harvest Food Bank.

Extra allotment money was given to SNAP recipients due to the pandemic. This allotment disappeared as of March 1.

With such a short notice, recipients had to find other ways to fight food insecurity.

“This extra money that they were getting was part of their budget every month for food. When it went away there was only really a month to a month and a half notice, so people didn’t have enough time to adjust their budgets,” said Rearick.

At the Second Harvest Food Bank, children are the highest percentage of individuals that they serve at this time of year.

As of this month, the food bank is seeing a higher percentage of families with children coming to their food distributions due to cuts in their benefits.

“We do have a way that if you tell me where you live I can tell you what food pantries or mobile distributions are closest to you,” said Rearick.

The Erie County WIC program has also seen an increase of those in need. It’s another resource for those who qualify.

“When you get your benefits cut that does make you concerned about how are you going to afford food for your family. WIC is here to support that. We serve children up to age five and women who are pregnant or breast feeding or postpartum. Please come in and get your benefits because we have them available for you,” said Barbara Warner, nutritionist; outreach coordinator, Erie County WIC.

Warner explained that families can use their WIC benefit first, then use their regular SNAP payment to fill in what they need.

“We know it is a time of insecurity for food benefits, but WIC is definitely here to help. Our community I think is a good one that we have many organizations that can help you, so just make sure you know what’s out there,” said Warner.

Warner recommends coming to the WIC office if you are eligible for those benefits, and using all community resources such as the food bank, pantries and churches.