(WGHP) — In just two months, almost a million North Carolina families could be left wondering where they’ll get their next meal.
Emergency allotments for COVID-19 in the Food and Nutrition Services program will end in March, meaning families will lose an average of $95 per month.
“There are sometimes where you feel … ‘is it going to be my baby eating, or is it going to be me eating?'” one Guilford County mother said.
She didn’t want to share her identity but did share what it’s like to be raising three kids, and relying on federal programs for food.
“Those benefits, they really do help … the extra benefits,” she said. “It’s kind of like that pick me up just to make it to the next day when the benefits will drop.”
Starting in March, she’ll go from getting $300 a month to $150.
FOX8 asked her if she’ll be able to survive on that amount of money.
“Yes, with budgeting … realistically, no. It’s hard,” she said.
She said she tries food giveaways to make up for it, sometimes driving to multiple food pantries in one day.
“Some food banks, they’re running out of food … because there are people that don’t get benefits that run to the food banks to get food,” she said. “It’s hit or miss.”
In December, leaders with Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina estimated that 5,000 more people came to their more than 500 satellite pantries for food.
CEO Eric Aft said the struggles these families face keep him up at night.
“When you couple that with the fact that, on average, each family is paying about $72 more for food, that is a challenge for so many families,” Aft said.
Aft said more people are going to need food with emergency funding ending, but they’re struggling to find it.
“With fewer federal commodities and a difficult food-sourcing environment, we just don’t have that,” Aft said.
To make up for it, the food bank needs people to donate both food and money to help meet the increased need, Aft said.
FOX8 reached out to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to ask where families can turn for more resources. They suggested calling 211 or visiting www.nc211.org for more information on local resources.