It is no longer necessary to declare a COVID-19 state of emergency in Kentucky. Gov. Andy Beshear had refused to sign a resolution terminating the state of emergency early, and the Kentucky legislature overrode his veto on Tuesday night.
It is possible that $50 million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits will be lost as a result of this.
In addition, lawmakers overrode Beshear’s veto of a House bill that would have slashed in half the amount of time unemployed Kentucky people could receive unemployment benefits. Ultimately, the idea is to encourage more unemployed people to obtain employment.
According to estimates, the loss of SNAP payments will affect 256,000 households across Kentucky. Local food banks are preparing for a surge in the number of individuals who will come through their doors.
The staff at Paducah’s Family Service Society anticipates an increase in the number of people who seek their services.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic, according to Executive Director Candace Melloy, the number of cases virtually doubled.
“After a few months, they increased to 300 and 400. When the additional SNAP benefits were implemented, we did notice a slight rise in our income. “It remained above the level that we had been averaging previous to the outbreak,” Melloy explains.
These figures have begun to grow once more as a result of inflation.
The majority of them have fixed incomes, and this hasn’t altered for the majority of them. Therefore, as food costs rise across the board, what they have available,
as well as the resources they have available, become smaller, and they are unable to stretch their resources as far as they formerly could,” explains Melloy.
Because of the end of the state of emergency, it is projected that families will lose $100 every month.
Heidi Suhrheinrich, executive director of the Paducah Cooperative Ministry, believes that this will have a significant impact on families.
‘For a family that is really frugal with their money and meticulous in their planning, $100 could last them a week or more,’ Suhrheinrich explains.
Beshear is dissatisfied with the override decisions. The governor responded with a flurry of tweets, claiming that the vetoes were “cruel” and would “kick struggling Kentuckians while they are already down.”
Suhrheinrich said they’re prepared to pick up the slack if the situation demands it.
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The pantry is in terrific shape right now, which is wonderful, and we believe we can handle the extra traffic for a little bit longer, but we always like to be prepared for the summer,” she says.
Because children are at home throughout the summer months, food banks see a significant increase in traffic during this time.
Both pantries admit that it’s difficult to forecast how the statistics will look in certain months, but they’re planning for them as much as they can.
If you are in need of assistance, you can reach out to Paducah Cooperative Ministries at 270-442-6795 for assistance. For further information, call the Family Service Society at (271) 443-4838.