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After nearly three years of additional federal food support during the COVID-19 pandemic, SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program), the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service announced this week that February 2023 is the final month of the temporary extra SNAP benefits, known as emergency allotments.

The end of benefits is part of the federal Consolidated Appropriation Act, 2023.

Image courtesy of the Salida Chamber of Commerce. Residents line up to receive food while volunteers organize to distribute.

The SNAP emergency allotment program began in March 2020. It allowed households to receive the maximum SNAP benefit amount for their household size, with a minimum supplemental allotment amount of $95. Beginning in March, all SNAP households will return to their regular benefit amount.

States were authorized to issue extra benefits alongside regular SNAP benefits, as long as a state’s emergency or disaster declaration and the federal public health emergency remained active. All Coloradans who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will see a reduction in their monthly benefit amount after February.

Both federal and state governments are urging citizens to support food banks and other charitable nutritional programs. Here in Chaffee County, the  Salida Community Center created the commodity food programs to distribute tons of food to the local and surrounding communities, to seniors and low-income residents in Chaffee and western Fremont counties.

The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) it coordinates provides food for low-income seniors on a monthly basis. The CSFP is currently providing food to over 120 seniors In Chaffee County. Working with the Colorado Central Humanists it also coordinated provisions of such items as shampoo, soap, and deodorant, to families in need.