LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Pandemic-era snap benefits are set to expire Mar. 1; as people see a reduction in their monthly benefits, organizations like the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York are preparing for increased need across the region.

“Neighbors in need are going to experience anywhere from a $95 to $150 a month reduction in their snap benefits,” Molly Nicol, CEO of the Regional Food Bank, said. “That means those dollars won’t go as far that means more of those folks are going to come into our food pantry network.”

The food bank has seen a steady increase in demand since the onset of the pandemic, distributing 50 Million pounds of food annually, up from their pre-pandemic level of just under 40 Million pounds. 

Nicol is concerned food insecurity could increase if more assistance is not given to combat rising food costs. 

“That’s going to impact our hard working folks who just can’t make ends meet and our senior citizens who are on a fixed incomes so we are going to see food insecurity increase in both of those populations,” Nicol said.

As they anticipate that number getting higher, the food bank is working on furthering their other programs including a backpack program for schools and increasing food supply at pantries in the areas. 

Nicol said they’re also working with US Department of Agriculture to get more federal food donations and added funds for SNAP recipients. 

“Most of these folks are working one or two jobs to make ends meet and they just can’t make the equation close so we’re advocating with the USDA to increase their snap benefits,” Nicol said.

Information on how to donate or receive assistance can be found on the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York’s website.