Oklahoma Food Banks See Spike In Need After End Of SNAP Benefits, Inflation

Just since March, the food bank said there’s been a 50-percent increase in people who need help. Two issues are at play: it's more expensive to make ends meet because of inflation and emergency SNAP benefits are ending.

Tuesday, June 13th 2023, 10:01 pm



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Food banks across Green Country are seeing a spike in the number of people using their services.

Two issues are at play: it's more expensive to make ends meet because of inflation and emergency SNAP benefits are ending.

Just since March, the food bank said there’s been a 50-percent increase in people who need help.

Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma distributes food to more than 700 food banks across Green Country.

With new renovations to their facility, it’s used to order, store, and distribute at least 50 million pounds of food each year.

“We are not in the warehouse business. We’re in the distribution business. So, we want to get food in and food out as quickly as we can,” said Matt Jostes, Chief Development Officer.

Jostes said the food bank relies heavily on donations and volunteers in order to help families who need their services.

But just since March when emergency SNAP benefits expired, the demand for their services has increased by 50-percent.

Jostes said families who used emergency SNAP lost an average of $223 in monthly benefits.

“Over 60-percent of Oklahomans are living paycheck to paycheck. They’re just one flat tire away from losing their grocery money. Now, take in account with the rising grocery prices. That’s putting a major impact on our families," said Jostes.

Jostes said post-COVID community support has not been able to catch up as the demand continues to grow.

In order to meet the demand, he said the food bank needs donations.

"Non-profits throughout Tulsa saw great support through the COVID and you just seen it kind of go away just because they thought they rose to the occasion and the problem was solved. But what COVID did was pull the curtain back on the hunger issue that we have here in Oklahoma," said Jostes. "Now, 1 in 6 families suffer every day with food insecurity. We're one of the most food insecure places for young kids in the nation. That problem didn't go away with COVID."

Jostes said smaller donations are where you can help others in need. Something as small as $25 each month can go a long way and can be set up online.

Click here to learn more about the Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and how you can help.

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