A recent article in The Daily Orange chronicled the impact of the end of a pandemic-era boost to SNAP assistance. The enhanced benefit ended in March, leaving consumers with less to spend on food each month and leading to even longer lines at area food pantries. According to the article, that decrease left over 66,000 Onondaga County residents with a fraction of their previous benefits.

The network that supports food pantries in Syracuse and across the country is a complex balance of government programs, nonprofit grants and local philanthropy. Food, funds and logistical support filter down from the state and federal government, as well as national nonprofits, to reach regional agencies like the Food Bank of Central New York. The Food Bank, in turn, shares those resources with local pantries based on their need.

That system has succeeded in delivering tons upon tons of food to people every month, but it’s also outdated, mostly unchanged from its Great Depression-era roots. Moreover, it’s heavily reliant on the continued generosity of donors, volunteers and the community organizations that do the work of food distribution.

“This is what is enraging about this. It almost allows the government to close its eyes and walk away.”

– Galyn Murphy-Stanley, Director of the Interfaith Community Co-op @ 324

The Food Bank of Central New York has seen evidence of a sharp uptick in demand for some areas it serves. (Photo credit: Meghan Hendricks)

The article goes on to recount the presentation offered by Galyn and her colleague, Beth DuBois, at the April Open Meeting of the SOFSA membership. Their presentation shared jarring statistics about the realities of poverty and food insecurity, not just in Syracuse, but nationwide – and cited critical data noting that SNAP is the most effective anti-poverty measure on record. Check out their presentation here.

“It feels like the government is once again leaving the task of feeding its most vulnerable citizens to volunteers and private donors… “It’s a policy choice. It’s not accidental. It’s a choice.”

– Beth DuBois, Pastoral Associate at University United Methodist Church and SOFSA Advisory Board Member

Read the full article from The Daily Orange here: