‘This will help.’: Residents struggle to feed families after SNAP cuts

March 29, 2023

Bright and early on a sunny March Monday morning, vehicles lined up in the parking lot of Crossroads Community Church west of Georgetown . . . hundreds of drivers willing to wait two hours before the official opening of the Food Bank of Delaware’s mass food distribution. They were in place an hour prior to the arrival of most of the 80-plus volunteers who donated time to load trucks and cars with frozen chicken, a ham, a dozen eggs, a gallon of milk, fresh oranges, and a box of shelf-stable staples.

Another group of cars did the same thing again on Wednesday morning as they waited for the official opening of the distribution at Dover Motor Speedway.

These distributions were the first of their size since December; food was provided to more than 1,200 families in Georgetown and 1,300 in Dover. More than 1,600 area already pre-registered for Friday’s distribution in Stanton.

Last month, emergency pandemic SNAP benefits ended for thousands of Delawareans. For most families that was about $90 a month. That cut coupled with inflation – escalating food costs, seasonal employment, increased rent, gas price hikes – creates a struggle to put food on local tables.

Why did people patiently queue up for assistance?

Ask Tyrone. He was sitting in line for about an hour, but he was probably about another 30 minutes away his turn. “This helps a lot,” he said. The middle-aged Ellendale resident explained that he has three children at home, but could no longer work as a restaurant manager due to a disability. In the meantime, he had no income. He was also awaiting approval of his application for disability income. “This will help,” he said.

And Liz. This Frankford resident echoed Tyrone’s sentiments. She was picking up food for her five children and her husband; he recently lost his job. Liz works in the food service industry, but the restaurant where she’s employed doesn’t open until the end of April. “This will help for sure,” she said.

Kristin, from Dagsboro, is a self-employed working mom. In fact, while she sitting in line she was working; her laptop was open on the passenger seat. “I don’t have grocery money, and my credit cards are maxed out. Yes, I’m working while I’m sitting here, but when I’m working it’s not all billable hours. It’s feast or famine,” she said. And she was literally facing famine, she noted. She needs to pay her sub-contractors to keep her business going, and she has a teen-age son at home. “He eats a lot.”

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