The Brainerd Community Food Pantry seeks financial assistance and food donations to provide meals for food-insecure clients after COVID-related Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (S.N.A.P.) benefits ended this spring.
The Brainerd Community Food Pantry, established in 2020 during the first full year of the COVID-19 Pandemic, has supplied individuals and families with around 485,000 pounds of food since it began distribution days on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month at Brainerd United Methodist Church.
The group served 28 percent more households last year than they did the year before, while the average cost to feed a household rose from $2.64/household to $5.32/household.
This March, Tennessee joined the 18 states that had already ended supplemental S.N.A.P. Emergency Allotments that gave individuals and their families additional financial assistance to purchase necessary food items. Each family now receives at least $95 less in benefits than they did while the Emergency Allotments were active. The stress of increased food prices on both Brainerd residents and the Brainerd Community Food Pantry is expected to result in less clients receiving food and more hungry adults and children unless support for the food pantry increases.
“Our concern at this time is the combination of COVID restrictions ending for SNAP beneficiaries and the strain on families providing three meals a day during the summer for school-age children. These two realities alone will create an uptick in the number of families we serve,” said Bess Steverson, chairman of the BCFP advisory board.
The largest need is for financial assistance in the form of individual or corporate donations as the food pantry can purchase items at a significant discount. However, if individuals are interested in holding a food donation drive, there is consistently high demand for nonperishable items such as peanut butter, canned meat and canned beans.
Financial donations to the Brainerd Community Food Pantry can be made at brainerdfoodpantry.com. Anyone who is interested in holding a food drive at their business, place of worship or club gathering can contact a food pantry volunteer at email@example.com.