Food Banks and Food Stamps

vickeym Posts: 2,020 ✭✭✭✭✭

I work at our local food bank here in my little village in Alaska. We serve four communities Which cover around 50 miles, and we are currently serving around 350 families.

In doing so we were receiving 2 federal shipments of commodities each month as well as receiving a good amount of food from the state food bank system and extra funding to purchase extra food supplies.

That has all ended and now the food bank here is struggling and we are better off than many of the food banks in villages further out and more remote than we are. Many of those village have lost their grocery stores (most only have one in a village.)

If not for my boss' talent at grant writing we would be in dire shape and be closed or closing soon. The amount of food we are able to give out is less than half of what we had been giving over the last 2-3 years.

Add to that, the folks here who get food stamps have not received them in somewhere between 3 and 8 months. They claim they are just backed up that bad on the paperwork needed. Those that have finally started getting them again said they amount they get was very drastically cut. I have disabled seniors with incomes around $400 to $700 a month who are telling us they were cut to $30 to $100 a month in food stamps.

My mother in law told us this week that friends who work at the food bank closest to her say they are having issues getting food as well.

Does anyone know if your areas are dealing with these same issues?


  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,371 admin

    Oh wow. That is devastating. 😔 I can't imagine the stress.

    Not to take anything away from your post/question, but those who are of indigenous heritage...are they still retaining or relearning their traditional skills & ways? I hope so. I suspect that's what will need to be relied on shortly, instead of the government. I know the Inuit here revere their elderly and care greatly for them. Family is very important at all stages of life. I'm assuming it is no different in your area.

    I realize most non-indigenous won't have the same privileges nor history in the area, and that often the best skills & knowledge are not shared with "outsiders", so this could prove potentially more difficult for them.

    The north is much more limited than our southern culture due to climate and greater isolation.

    I'm so glad that your boss has that talent. It is a very good one to possess.

    I find the situation in your area very concerning. I will be watching your thread. Please keep us updated.

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,585 admin

    I know the SNAP payments have been cut throughout the US. There was a temporary increase at the beginning of the COVID experience whcih recently expired. It is going to be tough for that 42 million people who depend on that system.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,020 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Many younger natives have left the villages and they as well as many in the villages have had major issues with alcohol. There are still some who remember the old ways and share them if the younger ones are willing to learn.

    Prices in the more remote villages are extremely high. I have seen posts showing prices for a gallon of milk as high as $15 a gallon.

    With the difficulty in shipping and distribution they have had issues stocking the stores, and the food banks were helping to fill the void. When they ran out of food as well, it has been very bad for them.

    My boss was in Juneau (out capital) last month in a conference and meetings with our Alaska legislature pushing for funding and support to help feed not only those in the villages, whom she pointed out are worse off than many others, but also with the problems they are having distributing the snap (food stamps), there are many who have been without food except for whatever the food banks have been able to provide and all are in desperate need.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Here in Pennsylvania food stamps have been cut back and I know of two people who will lose their food stamps this month and have no idea what they will do.

    The food banks around her have less to offer by about 1/2 and quite a bit of what they do get in is not healthy to depend on to feed a family. I expect it will only get worse. I know people who run the food banks and each month it gets harder to get supplies and food to replenish the bank.

    I push everyone I know to get a garden in (and find things that will grow in your winter season) and learn to find the food nature provides for us in our backyards and in nature.

    Good luck!~

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,225 ✭✭✭✭

    I encouraged one of friends to use her extra SNAP benefits to start her own emergency food pantry. It worked very well for her. She is very proud of herself and it gave her some much needed encouragement. She does not drive and doesn't get around very well and even though she lives close to stores she would not be able to get herself there.

    By having extra cans and keeping them rotated it helps her out!

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,020 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Monek Marie Yes, many here once they finally get their food stamps that are back owed, they also get notices that the amounts are being lowered or that they are being canceled. And many are having their Federal benefits, like disability and such. Some drastically cut.

    Many here garden, can, dry foods, forage, fish or hunt. And many of those are still having a hard time. When more are forced to hunt, fish and forage for their survival I'm afraid it is going to get much worse.

    Have friends who tried to order chickens from hatcheries recently and they are all out of stock. Many have no females available until September. Hard to start chicks here for those off grid when it is already getting cold out. They need to stay warm when young. And it is not pleasant to keep them in the house until they are fully feathered. The odor gets pretty unpleasant pretty quickly.

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