From Spectrum News 1 Cleveland:
One in three Cleveland households is directly affected by that change.
Now, the city is partnering with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority to host produce pop-ups to support families and make up for that loss.
Tiffany Scruggs, VP of Client Services at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, knows the importance of having access to SNAP benefits.
“Life happens,” she said. “So, when I went to the University of Toledo, I had to rely on SNAP, which is food stamps. That still continues to be our country's largest defense against hunger.”
She said her team is doing what they can to help her clients cope with a reduction in those benefits.
“We do the best that we can to stretch and provide and serve as many people as possible,” she said. “Last year, we reached almost 350,000 individuals. However, we can't supplement for that loss. That is a huge loss.”
The average Ohio household was receiving $95 in extra pandemic allotments, but Scruggs said some of her clients were getting between $200 and $300 dollars, and she said, the impact will reach beyond just those families.
“That does not just impact the individuals who are receiving the benefit,” she said. “It impacts the entire economy. For example, that's less money to support our EBT retailers. That's our farmers. That's our local grocery stores. So, they've built their staffing based on this additional revenue that they've been receiving throughout these years.”
CEO of the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, Jeffery K. Patterson, said a lot of the folks they serve don’t always have access to fresh produce.
“This is one of those areas where some folks may consider it to be a food desert,” Patterson said. “But I think what we've been able to do in partnership with the food bank and others is try to make these available at a lot of our properties.”
Read Spectrum News 1's article "Cleveland's produce pop-ups seek to fill loss of pandemic-related increase in SNAP benefits," featuring the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority.