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Northeast Ohio agencies prepare as COVID-era emergency SNAP benefits end

Ohio is one of 32 states that will see the end of the additional SNAP pandemic benefits starting on Wednesday.

CLEVELAND — Millions of Americans across 32 states, including Ohio, will see their emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits from COVID-19 come to an end starting on Wednesday. 

The average household will lose $95 a month to pay for groceries, according to a study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. 

In Cuyahoga County, the loss of SNAP benefits is going to have wide-reaching impacts. 

"We're estimating a $23 million reduction in benefits countywide, which roughly going to effect 212,000 residents in the monthly reduction," explains Tiffany Scruggs, vice president of client services for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.

Because of the rise in food prices and supply chain issues, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank has had to purchase about 25% more food to meet the demand increase.

All of this comes as the Greater Cleveland Food Bank's "Harvest for Hunger" campaign kicked off on Tuesday. It's one of the largest annual community-wide food and fund drives in the country, and it comes at a crucial time. 

"We know for older Americans here in the state of Ohio, many of our seniors were only eligible to receive $23 before the pandemic," says Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne. "Throughout the pandemic, they've been getting an additional $258 dollars. That's $281 dollars per month that our seniors have had access to, but now they'll go to $23 a month."

On Tuesday morning, 3News' Isabel Lawrence helped kickoff the 2023 Harvest for Hunger Campaign in the media supermarket challenge. In the past, a dollar donation would provide up to four nutritious meals. Now due to high food costs, that number has dropped to two. 

Also on Tuesday, nearly 100 coordinators and supporters gathered at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank's new partner distribution hub on Coit Road to go over this year's strategic plan. 

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley, and Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio also participate in the Harvest for Hunger campaign.

You can take part in Harvest for Hunger by donating food and money to your local food bank, donating money at your local grocery store at checkout, and clicking here.

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