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Food Bank of the Southern Tier says usage up 50% as concerns grow about those unemployed, going hungry

The Food Bank of the Southern Tier says SNAP benefits aren’t high enough right now, and is calling on Congress to act.

The Food Bank wants the minimum payment to go up, to help struggling families during the pandemic.

The food bank gives away food each week to families in need throughout the Southern Tier. In March, there was a 50 percent increase in total demand for food.

“In order to provide the most people with the most help, we need government assistance and the easiest way to do that is through programs that already exist. The largest program that helps address hunger is the SNAP program,” Natasha Thompson, president and CEO of Food Bank of the Southern Tier, told Spectrum News.

She says the boxes of supplemental food they give out can only go so far. Simply put: She says there needs to be more.

“We’re just really concerned that people aren’t able to access the food that they need right now and that the need is going to increase as this goes on,” added Randi Quackenbush. He’s the director of community impact with the Food Bank.

Congressman Tom Reed says he’s worried about the people still working through the pandemic.

“Maybe the food stamps shouldn’t be tailored in the traditional model where it goes to those that are unemployed, but we really need to focus on relief for the working individuals and staying with the working individuals, and reward their work ethic for staying in that position of work during this crisis,” Reed told Spectrum News.

A fourth phase of the cares act is expected in the coming weeks.