This month, families across Colorado are feeling the impacts of a reduction in SNAP, or monthly benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Most SNAP households are seeing a reduction of at least $95 dollars.
That means hunger-focused nonprofits like We Don’t Waste are seeing the demand for help firsthand.
By Saturday morning, more than 400 cars were lining Peoria Street near North Middle School in Aurora, where more than 400 families were lining up to receive food assistance.
The non-profit organization We Don’t Waste organized a market from 1 pm to 3 pm in the high school, but people had been queuing since 9 am
“I can’t pay for many of the things that are given to me and they’re going to use them so they don’t go to the landfill,” expressed Sharon Garza, who was in line to receive food.
“SNAP benefits don’t always qualify you and it’s not worth the time and effort you have to put in for what they offer,” Garza said.
For years, Garza was on and off food stamps, but it never worked out for her.
“As a single mother, I often but not regularly received child support and that threw 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 because she understands the headache of applying, she makes do with monthly food markets.
That’s why food markets like these are beneficial to hundreds of families like hers.
Right now, nonprofits like We Don’t Waste are doing their part to fill that void.
Arlan Preblud, the nonprofit’s founder and executive director, says that in its 14 years, the last few have been tough.
“Demand continues to rise and much of that demand has been driven by the fact that SNAP has reduced the amount of money that has been provided to people using SNAP…and now they are having to deal with the cost of inflation,” he said. Preblud.
The nonprofit adds that it is seeing a 78% increase in people needing assistance over the same period last year.
But even more telling is the recent 98% increase in the number of seniors needing such help.
“We are trying to cover a large number of less fortunate and more vulnerable people and we need the community’s support to continue doing these things,” Preblud said.
The non-profit organization works with several companies, producers and wholesalers who donate their surplus food. The demand for more help is needed now.
They host a total of about eight markets a month in the greater Denver area and are prepared to stay prepared to help families in need.
Sharon Garza says she is grateful for these nonprofits as she frequents these markets at least three times a month.
“I deeply appreciate what they are bringing us,” Garza said.
To learn more about We Don’t Waste, visit wedontwaste.org/what-we-do/food-recovery/