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Davidson food pantry expands hours amid COVID-era SNAP benefits ending

Heidi Acker works to provide food and funds to northern Mecklenburg County families who need it.

DAVIDSON, N.C. — Some North Carolina residents are feeling the squeeze after emergency SNAP benefits ended this month. 

"That’s going to hurt a lot of families we see, the ones that were on snap benefits," Heidi Acker, food pantry coordinator for the Ada Jenkins Center told WCNC Charlotte.

Acker works to provide food and funds to northern Mecklenburg County families who need it. 

MORE NEWS: 'They simply can't get caught up' | Concerns food insecurity will worsen after SNAP benefit, free school lunch changes

"We’re starting to see an increase," Acker said. "Right now, it’s only been three weeks, two and a half weeks since that has expired and I think I’m going to see about a 20% increase in terms of the number of people we serve in the month of March."

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, eligible North Carolina families received at least $95 more a month since the start of the pandemic. 

They've joined the millions around the nation supported by the dollars amid rising costs and a wavering economy. 

In neighboring South Carolina, the extra benefits ended in February. 

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This a challenge for recipients like Tonia Jackson, who spoke to WCNC Charlotte ahead of the change. 

"Eggs are expensive, chicken is expensive. [The] extra money that I had, if I had any extra money, it went towards gas in the car, so that I can be able to go back and forth to work," Jackson said.

As families adjust, Acker says they’ve added an extra day of service to help meet the need. 

"We try to make sure people are aware of it and encourage them to come. it is based on a referral from a community service organization," Acker said.

Click here to learn more about the Ada Jenkins Center and its resources.

Contact Kayland Hagwood at khagwood@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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