MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits will end in South Carolina next month.
Starting Aug. 1., South Carolina households will have their SNAP benefits return to pre-pandemic levels. SNAP is a state-run, federally-funded program that helps qualified households put food on the table.
Recipients have been getting extra financial help from the program from the onset of the pandemic last year. The South Carolina Department of Social Services decided it was time to end the emergency allotments after 16 months.
A few local food pantries have seen a steady stream of patrons that need help putting food on the table and have not experienced a surge in usage like some might expect.
Tina Shuppy, executive director at Helping Hand of Myrtle Beach, attributed that fact to the support from the community for people in need.
“We have a great community,” Shuppy said. “It has always been so supportive: groups, churches, individuals. Our pantry as you can see walking through it has been well stocked, and that is due to the people in this community. We need something, and they provide it.”
Shuppy said that the impact of the SCDSS decision on places that help fight food insecurity might not be completely clear for some time. She pointed out that in the region there is normally a higher number of patrons in the fall because many jobs are seasonal.
“In the fall, we always see numbers increase only because of where we live,” Shuppy said. “Hours are cut, and sometimes jobs are cut during the fall, and so we always see an increase during that time.
Shuppy said Helping Hand of Myrtle Beach is ready to help anyone in need.
“The people in need here — they’re hard workers,” Shuppy said. “They’re doing their best, and they struggle. Food shouldn’t be something that anyone should do without — not with as much is available here.”