SNAP reduction impacting Colorado families, causing surges at mobile food market
This month families across Colorado are feeling the impacts of a reduction in SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program monthly benefits.
Most SNAP households are seeing at least a $95 reduction.
This means hunger-focused nonprofits like We Don't Waste are seeing the demand for help firsthand.
Saturday morning, more than 400 cars were wrapped around Peoria Street near North Middle School in Aurora, where more than 400 families lined up for food assistance.
The nonprofit We Don't Waste hosted a market from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the middle school, but people were lined up since 9 a.m.
"I cannot afford a lot of the things that are given to me and they're going to use not to landfill," expressed Sharon Garza, who was in line to receive food.
"The SNAP benefits, you don't always qualify for and it's not worth the time and effort you have to go through for what they offer," said Garza.
For years Garza was on and off food stamps, but it never worked out for her.
"As a single mother I often, but not regularly would receive child support and it would kick me out, so it wasn't worth the effort it took to receive the $71 for three people," said Garza.
This was about 30 years ago, but since she understands the headache of applying, she settles for food markets monthly.
That's why food markets like these are beneficial for hundreds of families just like hers.
Right now non-profits like We Don't Waste are doing their part to fill that void.
Arlan Preblud, founder and executive director of the non-profit says in his 14 years, the last few have been tough.
"The demand keeps increasing and much of that demand has been generated by the fact that the SNAP has cut back on the amount of money that has been provided to people that use SNAP… and now they're having to deal with the cost of inflation," said Preblud.
The non-profit adds they are seeing a 78% increase in people needing assistance over this same time last year.
But even more eye-opening is the recent 98% increase in seniors needing that help.
"We are trying to cover a broad amount of people who are less fortunate and more vulnerable and we need the support of the community to continue to do these things," said Preblud.
The non-profit works with several businesses, growers and wholesalers who donate their excess food. The demand for more help is needed now.
They host a total of about eight markets a month in the Metro Denver area and are prepared looking to stay prepared to help families in need.
Sharon Garza says she is just thankful for these non-profits, as she attends these markets at least three times a month.
"I deeply appreciate what they're bringing us," said Garza.
For more on We Don't Waste, visit wedontwaste.org/what-we-do/food-recovery/
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