A regional food bank says a reduction in federal food assistance comes at the worst possible time for families struggling to get by.
Individuals enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recently learned they could see their benefits cut. That's because a temporary hike in those benefits expires this week.
Donna Lake is with the Northern Illinois Food Bank. She says the news comes as low-income families face added budget pressure.
"Everyone's just turned on their heating. So that's another bill. And families that have budgets that are stretched pay those bills first and whatever's left goes toward the food budget," Lake said.
Lake says people who wind up with little or no food can turn to their local food pantry. But like similar organizations across the state, Lake says the situation comes amid record demand for help.
The Northern Illinois Food Bank says it is providing extra deliveries to the food pantry in Rochelle, which recently reported that thieves had ransacked its shelves. Authorities say thousands of pounds worth of food was taken.
Officials with the pantry say in addition to extra donations, they’re in the process of making purchases to restock their shelves. But they warn that in the meantime, they may have to hand out less to families in need.