ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s been nearly two months since the federal COVID SNAP benefits were stopped. Now, food pantries said they are seeing more people asking for assistance.

“The need is huge here in New Mexico. We’ve had this one long-standing issue with hunger,” said Jill Beets, marketing representative for the Storehouse Of New Mexico.

Ever since the 70s, Storehouse New Mexico has helped thousands of people in the metro area, and current days are no different.

“We’re already supporting 35,000 people a year. So, it makes sense that we’re seeing a big increase in people. Some people, you know, individuals, you know, their cut was like $90 a month. Some families saw a reduction of over $250 a month in those benefits,” said Beets.

Since the cutback on the federal government’s COVID SNAP benefits, some dollars aren’t stretching as far, especially with rising inflation.

“Those SNAP benefits are huge for our state,” she said, “[A total of] 500,000 people in New Mexico are on SNAP benefits, and 144,000 of those people live in Bernalillo County, which is our primary service area.”

One in eight New Mexicans faces food insecurity; one in five kids do not have enough to eat. Since the Supplemental Nutrition Program ran out the number of people coming to the food pantry has jumped.

“Back last fall, when grocery prices went up, we were seeing about 156 households a day. April 1, we saw 258. [It’s] almost a 60% increase in people.”

With the number of people coming for help going up, more food is being given out. Now there is some hope as more people are donating what they can.

Last week, Albertson’s Market donated nearly 5,000 pounds of apples to the food pantry. It’s large donations like this that really make a difference when people need it most.

“I just want to compel people that if you’re skipping meals, know that there is support systems here to help you.”

If you would like more information on when food distribution is or if you would like to volunteer or donate, you can follow the link here.