As April began, an estimated 450,000 Nevadans face the impact of reduced SNAP benefits while also grappling with rising costs of living. Now, we will see more and more people rely on food pantries and nonprofit organizations to meet their basic needs.
Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada (CCNN), a nonprofit agency supporting those in need throughout the Reno-Sparks community and rural Nevada, will continue to work to address this critical gap and has increased programming to meet the needs of our most vulnerable populations.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, increased its benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic to address rising food insecurity. The additional emergency allotments allowed many low-income Northern Nevada recipients to afford groceries and put food on the table with a second monthly payment.
Congress ended the extra SNAP benefits in December by passing the Consolidated Appropriations Act. On March 14, low-income families and individuals received their last additional payment of the month.
Despite this change in policy across America, we will continue the fight for food security to help feed and care for people in need.
CCNN’s St. Vincent Dining Room welcomes all who are hungry in our community as we serve a free warm lunch to over 600 people per day, every day. With above-average inflation rates and the removal of emergency allotments, we can expect even more individuals to need our services and programs. We are fortunate to have cultivated long-standing relationships with local growers and providers of meats and produce, bread, and other food stock to meet the needs of that growing client base. In March, the Dining Room served more than 36,000 meals throughout our various programs.
The St. Vincent’s Food Pantry is the largest food pantry in northern Nevada. Depending on the family size or individual each client receives a 45-65 pound box of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs and dairy products as well as non-perishable, canned and packaged food products at no cost. We also support an network of pantries across Reno/Sparks including three Client Choice
As seniors are a particularly vulnerable population at a higher risk of experiencing food insecurity, CCNN will provide two monthly food boxes to those aged 62 and older starting on April 1. Seniors can pick up their boxes at one of the three Client Choice Pantries, and at our main campus in the Fourth Street Food Pantry. Those who cannot visit a pantry in person may be eligible for our home delivery program.
Unfortunately, thousands of Nevadans may be vulnerable due to the reduced SNAP benefits. At CCNN, we understand not only this urgency of addressing food insecurity in our community but also the importance of empowering our clients with the tools and resources they need to lead a self-sufficient life.
To better assist those in need, our team at CCNN will also conduct targeted outreach to clients in our Elevating Families Program. This program provides families additional support services to help afford childcare and transportation and free up cash for essentials like food.
I recognize the added SNAP benefits were a temporary solution for hunger as an emergency band-aid for those in need during the pandemic. The recent removal of these benefits has left children, individuals, seniors, and families without the food they depend on, but the public can still take action to help our communities.
If you wish to make a meaningful impact and help those facing food insecurity, please consider donating to CCNN or your local food banks in Northern Nevada. It’s time to step up and do our part to help fill the gap and ensure people have access to the food they need to live a healthy and fulfilling life.
If you are reading this and need assistance, please know our doors are always open. For more information about our programs and services, click here or call 775-322-7073. If you’re able to give or volunteer your time, click here.
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