SNAP reduction impacting Colorado families and leading to surge in mobile grocery market
This month, families across Colorado are feeling the impact of a reduction in monthly SNAP or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.
Most SNAP households see a reduction of at least $95.
This means hunger-focused nonprofits like We Don’t Waste are seeing the need for help firsthand.
As of Saturday morning, more than 400 cars were wrapped around Peoria Street near North Middle School in Aurora, where more than 400 families were lining up for food aid.
The nonprofit organization We Don’t Waste held a market at the middle school from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., but people had been queuing since 9:00 a.m
“I can’t afford a lot of the things that are given to me and they don’t go to the landfill,” said Sharon Garza, who waited in line to receive groceries.
“The SNAP benefits don’t always qualify, and it’s not worth the time and effort that you have to put in for what they offer,” Garza said.
For years, Garza has been on and off food stamps, but it’s never worked out for her.
“As a single mom, I got child support often but not consistently, and it kicked me out, so it wasn’t worth the effort it took to get the $71 for three people,” Garza said.
That was about 30 years ago, but understanding the headache of applying, she makes do with grocery stores monthly.
Because of this, food markets like this are beneficial to hundreds of families like hers.
Right now, nonprofits like We Don’t Waste are doing their part to fill that gap.
Arlan Preblud, founder and CEO of the nonprofit, says at the age of 14, the past few years have been tough.
“Demand continues to grow, and much of that demand was generated by the fact that SNAP has cut the amount of money that has been made available to SNAP users … and now they have to deal with the cost of inflation,” Preblud said.
The nonprofit adds that the number of people needing help has increased by 78% compared to the same period last year.
But even more telling is the recent 98% increase in seniors who need this help.
“We’re trying to cover a large number of people who are less fortunate and more vulnerable, and we need the support of the community to keep doing those things,” Preblud said.
The non-profit organization works with several companies, growers and wholesalers who donate their surplus food. The demand for more help is now in demand.
They host a total of about eight markets per month in the Denver metro area and stand ready to stay prepared to help families in need.
Sharon Garza says she’s just grateful to these nonprofits because she visits these markets at least three times a month.
“I really appreciate what they’re bringing us,” Garza said.
For more information on We Don’t Waste, visit wedontwaste.org/what-we-do/food-recovery/