MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The coronavirus has meant a lot of people are temporarily out of work, and that means money for food can be scarce.
One Mid-South safety net program is seeing a rise in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everybody has been out of work. They haven’t had a paycheck. SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is one first line of defense before hunger,” said Cathy Pope, Mid-South Food Bank CEO.
SNAP is the federal program where families can get money to buy food.
Cathy Pope, CEO of the Mid-South Food Bank, says it is not designed to pay for all of your food. She says an average family gets $200 a month. The rest of your food comes from what money you have available to buy food.
“But of course, the problem is what if you don’t have a food budget right now because you have been out of work for two months,” said Pope.
SNAP benefits in Tennessee jumped by more than 40,000 people from March through April. In Shelby County, that number is an increase of almost 9,000 people.
Since SNAP is just to supplement your food, the Mid-South Food Bank is a place where many people have to turn.
“We have tripled the amount of food we are getting out to the community. We tripled it in April,” said Pope.
The food bank has a department that helps people with SNAP benefits that Pope says are not easy for everyone to apply for.
“You’re seniors, you can’t necessarily work the computer that well, or maybe you don’t have access,” said Pope.
The food bank gets food to people in various ways including food pantries.
Pope says the food bank has three weeks-worth of food in its warehouse to feed people in 31 counties. Right now money is the best donation.
“We’re preparing to stay the course of what we are doing," said Pope.
To donate money to the Mid-South Food Bank or learn more information about the SNAP program, click here.