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Food banks trying to help fill gap between delayed SNAP benefits, high cost of food

The high cost of food and the delay in SNAP benefits brought a double whammy for Georgians right before the holidays.

DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. — Food insecurity has been a big issue for people over these last few months and weeks. The high cost of inflation, coupled with the state being late on distributing food stamp benefits, left many Georgians scrimping to get groceries. A typical Thanksgiving meal is set to cost 20 percent more this year than in 2021.

In Douglasville, dozens of people lined up for hours, waiting to get one of 125 large pre-packed meals distributed by Your New Best Friend Pet Rescue. Although primarily an animal organization, the rescue also operates a food bank and distributes food twice a week. The special giveaway on Tuesday helped many in the area right before Thanksgiving.

However, owner Melissa King said the need has been growing for months.

"We are increasing our numbers. We've gone from 600 families to 800 families to last month, 1200 families. And this month, I'm sure we will be over 1300 families," King said. 

The 125 meals were gone in less than half an hour. King said she's seeing lots of new faces, children, and hearing different stories about why people are in need of a little extra help.

"We always have a lot of senior citizens, but now we're seeing a lot of people with small children," King explained. “Either their SNAP benefits have been revoked for whatever reason, or they didn't get any."

Due to an increase in demand and a decrease in workers, state officials were late in distributing food stamp benefits. Some Georgians said they haven’t gotten the assistance in one to two months, forcing them to make decisions between paying for food, paying bills or turning to churches and food banks. Inflation and the high cost of food are also driving up the need.

"And we don't have a great deal of non-perishables. So, if there would be any way to get more non-perishables, that would be wonderful," King said. "But, we are doing everything we can to pick up more donations. But it's just very limited. And we have pretty tough competition from the larger organizations."

King knows she can’t help everyone but she’ll try as hard as she can to hand out as much food as possible and give families the peace they deserve.

"It's, it's wonderful, but also disheartening at the same time," she said. 

King’s organization normally gives out food every Monday and Saturday, equaling about 40,000 pounds of food every month. As for the delayed food stamp benefits that Georgians have been waiting on for weeks, state officials said Georgians should be caught up by Thanksgiving.

There are other Atlanta food banks or services that provide daily meals, including:

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