LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – People who depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, are struggling to find other ways to feed their families.

That’s because benefits were reduced by more than half last month.

It’s affecting lower-income families and the elderly the most. Food banks around mid-Michigan say the demand is the highest they’ve seen in a long time.

During the pandemic, people were given a temporary boost in food benefits.

On March 1, more than 1.3 million people in Michigan lost at least $95 in food benefits per month.

Diane Petryk is one of them.

“There is no discretionary income left, and if it weren’t for this, we would not be eating.”

She means food pantries. With just a fixed income, she has no choice but to get her groceries from food pantries like the Allen Neighborhood Center on Lansing’s east side.

“If I was younger I could get a job, or a supplementary something or another, but I can’t.” Petryk continued.

“We’ve definitely seen an increase in the number of folks coming in looking for food resources,” said Kat Logan.

Logan works at the Allen Neighborhood Center. She believes the cut to SNAP benefits means more foot traffic for them.

“An influx in the number of people coming to receive services, coming in to sign up for government assistance and get those kinds of referrals, and we’re planning accordingly for that, to have folks on staff to offer these resources,” said Logan.

According to the Greater Lansing Food Bank, an average of 40,000 people in Ingham County receive SNAP benefits, which includes more than 16,000 children.

The bank claims it has seen a 25% increase in families seeking food in January and February.

Petryk says she’s thankful for places like the Allen center.

“I wish they didn’t have so much pressure on them right now because they’re feeding a lot more people than they had to last year,” she said.

Officials want people who use SNAP to double-check their eligibility to see if they qualify for more benefits.

If you have leftover SNAP benefits, they can be used up to 9 months after they are issued.