GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — February is the last month extra allotments will be sent out to families on SNAP.

In Mesa County alone 10,000 families use SNAP, not including people like the elderly, who also rely on SNAP assistance.

“All of our community recipients that are receiving SNAP assistance will see a reduction in their food assistance,” said Melissa Schierland an economic assistance director with Mesa County Human Services.

Unfortunately, there isn’t anything Mesa County can do about the cuts in extra funding, SNAP is a federally ran program. Mesa County Human Services did tell KREX they will recommend people visit other community resources to help bridge the upcoming gap. One of those resources is food banks like Food Bank of the Rockies or Clifton Christian Church Food Bank. The best way to find the closest food resource–or housing resource or any resource–to you is by calling 2-1-1.

You might be thinking now, what’s the big deal? SNAP funding is just returning to pre-pandemic levels, that shouldn’t be such a big deal.

Well, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Ellen Vollinger with the Food Research and Action Center told me visiting food banks and saving food won’t be enough to keep people from starving, “For every meal that a food bank is able to provide a family the National Food Bank Network estimates snap provides 9 meals.” Vollinger also mentioned that a return to pre-pandemic levels of funding will leave people with an average of $6 a person a day.

Beyond the $6 per person per day average Vollinger said one group, in particular, will be hit the hardest, “Many elderly SNAP participants… a lot of them only qualify for the minimum benefit in SNAP.”

What can be done?

Unless the federal government extends or makes the extra allotments permanent there are only a few other options. “There are some states that prior to the pandemic had already used some of their own state money to make benefits more adequate,” Vollinger said.