GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — March 1 marked the end of extra FoodShare benefits for families in Wisconsin.
Families enrolled in the FoodShare program had been receiving about 34% more relief for their household size than they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic because of a federal program.
This change is going to impact 700,000 Wisconsinites, and the food pantry at Green Bay First in Green Bay said they're currently preparing to feed a whole lot more families than they do now.
"We're really just trying to gather as much as we can, and it goes out the door as soon as it comes in," Jill Greenwood, the pantry's director, said.
Greenwood said at the beginning of the pandemic, they experienced an influx of people relying on the pantry, but that subsided as people received the extra benefits.
As of now, Greenwood said they serve 250 to 300 families a week.
"We see a wide range of people from great needs to people who just contact the church and need a little help to get by," Greenwood said.
They expect this amount to go up.
"For instance, if you're a family of two, you've been getting an extra $400 a month, all of a sudden that's gone," Lynn Lopez, the pantry's outreach director, said. "If you're a family of six, that's huge, and a lot of the families we see in here have six, seven, eight people in them."
Greenwood said the pantry runs entirely off donations, and they are working with the local businesses they partner with and the community to make sure they continue to have enough to give out.
Lopez said even with the extra benefits families were receiving, there's still a big need for food in the community.
"It's really kind of crazy. We live in the United States, and you think that nobody's hungry, but even our bus kids do not have enough food sometimes," Lopez said. "There's a lot of food insecurity."
Greenwood encourages anyone who is feeling the impacts of the change to come out to the pantry and said there are no requirements to get food.
"For me personally, I'm a mother of three, so it's hard for me to watch anybody struggle," Greenwood said. "I don't feel like anybody should go hungry."
"We want to see people have what they need. If we can make that happen, then it's a good day for all of us," Lopez said.
Anyone looking to connect with the pantry for services or to volunteer can find more information here.