Majority of Feeding America Network Reports Increased or Steady Demand

As Emergency SNAP Benefits End Nationwide, New Survey Data Shows Food Banks Under Continued Strain

April 7, 2023

Since the start of the pandemic, Feeding America has surveyed the nationwide network of food banks to better understand the impacts of the pandemic on the charitable food sector. In the latest survey, fielded between March 20 and 31, 75% of responding food banks reported seeing demand for food assistance increase or stay the same in February compared to January, with 35% reporting an increase in the number of people seeking charitable food assistance. This is the last food bank survey gauging demand before the nationwide end of a critical pandemic-era food benefit. 

During January and February, more than 30 states were still offering increased Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit amounts, a policy that began in the early days of the pandemic to provide much-needed hunger relief. The increased SNAP benefits, known as emergency allotments, have now ended nationwide—a significant and sudden loss of grocery purchasing power for families. The end of this additional SNAP assistance will likely exacerbate the strain food banks were already under, as demonstrated by Feeding America’s January and February survey results. 

Last year, SNAP helped approximately 40 million people put food on the table during tough times. With the expiration of SNAP emergency allotments, nearly $3 billion in food purchasing power per month has been erased, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

People with lived experience have shared their perspectives on the value of the added SNAP benefits. As part of Feeding America’s Elevating Voices listening initiative last year, one individual shared: “My husband and I are both on disability. They take $170 out of each check for Medicare. We don't qualify for Medicaid and currently pay about $300 per month out of pocket for prescriptions. The way food prices are, and if they take away the extra food stamps we get on the 11th, we will have to choose between my husband's heart pills or food. I think the whole community is on edge because of the stress of making choices between paying their bills or feeding their children.” 

Feeding America understands the value of SNAP as the most effective hunger-relief program in America. That is why Feeding America is the largest non-governmental SNAP application assistance organization, aiding the submission of more than 376,000 SNAP applications last fiscal year. About 165 Feeding America partner food banks currently provide application assistance. In addition to increasing food security, SNAP is an economic multiplier that infuses money into local economies. Every dollar in SNAP benefits spent helps generate an estimated $1.50 in economic activity. 

Voters also understand the value of SNAP. In an Ipsos survey of registered voters conducted in February, 84% of voters say they support the purposes of SNAP after hearing basic information about the program, with 93% of Democrats, 85% of independents and 76% of Republicans supporting the program. 

During the peak of the pandemic, the administration and Congress made critical investments to help ensure individuals and families facing hunger could put food on the table. While the federal public health emergency around the COVID-19 pandemic ends, the effects of the pandemic will likely be felt for years to come—a critical consideration as Congress deliberates on the 2023 Farm Bill. This legislation will set national agriculture, nutrition, conservation and forestry policy for the next five years. Feeding America urges members of Congress to help ensure people have access to the food they need by strengthening federal nutrition programs, such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and SNAP, in the 2023 Farm Bill. 

For more information about Feeding America and how to join the organization’s efforts at the national or local level, visit


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About Feeding America

Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of more than 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank associations, and over 60,000 partner agencies, food pantries and meal programs, we helped provide 5.3 billion meals to tens of millions of people in need last year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; brings attention to the social and systemic barriers that contribute to food insecurity in our nation; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.