Starting March 1st, 2023, Coloradans, and people throughout the nation, participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) saw their monthly amounts drop drastically as the Emergency Allotments for the SNAP program (Food Stamps) that took place during the COVID-19 pandemic came to an end February 28, 2023. On an individual basis, the end of emergency allotments will mean an average loss of $82 in food stamps per person every month, according to US Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates.
The Emergency Allotments began in March 2020 to help people who lost their jobs, were underemployed, were financially strained due to medical costs, etc. due to COVID-19. After three years, the decision was made to end the Emergency Allotments. Additionally, this is happening at a time when grocery prices are already much higher than normal. This change will affect the human food that is accessible to people, leaving even less money for pet food and pet costs.
That’s where we come in.
How will this affect Colorado Pet Pantry?
Colorado Pet Pantry saw a drastic increase in the amount of people needing pet food assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Three years later the need has only continued to increase, while donations have recently begun to decrease due to our donors’ economic concerns. We’re already seeing even more people needing help with pet food because more of their sparse funds are needed to feed the human family members.
Colorado Pet Pantry works side by side with human food banks to help make sure the human food goes to the humans and the pet food goes to the pets. “I will feed my pets before I eat…” is a common phrase heard at our organization when those who need pet food reach out.
The human food banks that we partner with have already reported that their human food distributions increased by 30 to 50% in February 2023 alone. And our pet food banks in the past two months have greatly increased in the number of people seeking help. This began the month BEFORE the food stamps decreased. The concern is that this number will dramatically increase in months to come as people and families realize the full affect of the decreased food stamp allotment.
While food stamps cannot be used for pet food, this decrease in food stamps will affect a person’s or family’s overall ability to feed all the members of the family, including ones with paws. Colorado Pet Pantry anticipates that need will greatly increase, beginning NOW.
As pets make their way into our hearts and our homes, they become part of the family. Most of the clients we assist have had their pets for many years, then financial struggles took hold. Pet owners should not have to choose between keeping their pet or feeding their pet.
How can you help?
Monetary donations go a long way. Thanks to our pet food partnerships, we can take just $5 and give a pet a 30-day supply of pet food.
Volunteering is the backbone of our organization. If we do not have volunteers to run our pet food banks, pick up donations, or help in our warehouse, we do not exist. If you are able to volunteer, we would love to have you!
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