LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The temporary boost to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits which began during the COVID-19 pandemic ended in February. Now, food pantries are feeling the effects and it appears to be making it harder for food pantries to serve the community.

“There is just so much you can do you have limited resources,” Frank Spica, a food procurer at St. Vincent’s de Paul Food Pantry. “You would love to open it up and say come get all you want but you just can’t do that.”

Food bank funds are stretched thin after government money dries up. (WLNS)

Empty shelves are a common problem for dozens of food pantries across the state and now some are not receiving funds the pantries relied on during the pandemic. On Sunday, food pantries from Charlotte, Vermontville and Potterville told 6 News the need for food is greater than ever.

One pantry is only a year old and has seen its numbers double. “We started off with 41 families in our first distribution in December,” Louis Hammonds with the Vermontville food bank said. “We are now up to about 100 to 105 families each month.”

During the pandemic, the Greater Lansing Food Bank was receiving extra funds through government programs. However, once the programs ended they had fewer funds to give out to other food pantries. “We are ranging from $5,000 to $8,000 a month to purchase the food for 2,000 people,” Amanda Thompson, the Executive Director of Helping Hands Food Pantry told 6 News. “So the dollar amount that we are having to raise continues to rise so it’s going to be right around 100 thousand dollars.” Amanda Thompson executive director of Helping Hands Food Pantry.”

The four food pantries now have to raise a total of $175,000 for the upcoming year. “All these pantries in the area can use everybody’s money,” Joanne Williams, Vice President of the St Vincent de Paul Society said. “They can use some time, some volunteers we are aging up and over. And they can definitely use treasures any donations of non-perishable and personal care items would be incredible.”