SNAP logo for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

In the early stages of the pandemic, Congress passed an act allowing for emergency allotments of SNAP benefits. SNAP stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It’s the federal program that helps make sure needy families can buy healthy food. In short, people who are eligible, based on their income and family size, receive benefits on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. Benefits are automatically loaded each month. Then, the EBT works just like a debit card at most stores that sell groceries. Of course, these extra emergency allotments were designed to be temporary. Now, as the COVID situation has improved, those extra funds are ending. As a result, those SNAP changes are expected to increase the numbers of people counting on hunger organizations, including the Storehouse.

When are the SNAP Changes Happening & What Does That Mean?

The Consolidated Appropriations Act 2023 law, recently passed by Congress, ends emergency allotments after the February 2023 issuance. This means by March 2023, all SNAP households’ benefits will return to their pre-pandemic amounts, without that added supplement. This is a nationwide change to SNAP.

The impact on each family will vary. Emergency allotments allowed all SNAP households to receive an additional $95 in benefits or an additional benefit valued up to the maximum benefit for their household size, whichever value was greater. When emergency allotments end, people will return to the standard qualifying SNAP benefit. The amount they now receive will depend on their household income. The government also factors in how many people are living in the household.  More information on SNAP can be found on the USDA website.

The lines of people seeking food have been increasing at the Storehouse due to changes in SNAP benefits and rising costs for groceries and utilities.

How will the SNAP Changes Impact New Mexico?

New Mexico has higher poverty rates than most of the country. As a result, these SNAP changes will have a big impact in our state. Currently, over 500,000 people in New Mexico are on SNAP benefits. In Bernalillo County alone, the primary service zone for the Storehouse, 144,000 households count on SNAP.

The Storehouse supports 40,000 people a year, on average, but we expect more pantry visits with these SNAP changes. When so many people live on the edge and are juggling household bills like rent, utilities, medical bills, and transportation costs we anticipate more people will need to know about and use our pantry services.

How Can You Help?

With these SNAP changes, the Storehouse is already seeing an uptick in people needing food. With the increased cost of groceries and utilities, we expect that to continue. There are multiple ways you can help us tackle this need.

First, the Storehouse needs volunteers. Volunteers help us sort food donations, push and load carts, and pack food boxes. Groups of volunteers. up to 15 people, are welcome. Arrange volunteer times by calling (505) 842-6491 or email us at Second, you can host a food drive. Arrange to get Storehouse bins at the phone number or email above. You can also collect food in your own containers and bring them Monday through Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm. Bring items to the back door of the pantry, 106 Broadway SE, in downtown Albuquerque a block south of Central Avenue. Third, financial donations will go a long way to help us feed people in need. Every dollar provides 5 meals.

An ongoing gift of $25 a month will feed a local child all month long. $100 will feed a family of 4 with a month’s worth of groceries. All help is appreciated!

Are these SNAP Losses Affecting Your Family?

If SNAP changes are causing your family to go without food, the Storehouse offers free groceries Wednesday, Friday and Saturday mornings from 9 am to noon. You will need to bring an ID and you will be asked to fill out some paperwork on your first visit, about yourself and the members of your household who need food. You can come 1x a month to get free groceries. The Storehouse NM food pantry is located at 106 Broadway Blvd SE in downtown Albuquerque, just south of Central. Our full calendar and more details on how to get food can be found on our Need Food page.