VIRGINIA BEACH — For the month of March only, Virginia’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is suspending its usual staggered issuance and released all benefits on March 1.
That early issuance came about because of the partial government shutdown back in January where SNAP benefits were delayed, said Gailyn Thomas, Social Services deputy director and Deidria Bolden, financial assistance division administrator.
In addition to releasing the benefits on March 1, the city’s department of Human Services has been helping out the SNAP community by hosting two mobile pantries in partnership with the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, the second of which is set to take place on March 22.
The first mobile food pantry took place on Feb. 22 and it was a good experience — they helped about 100 individuals, Bolden said.
Each mobile food pantry can help up to 250 households and the second event in March is sure to bring a larger turnout, she added.
On average, Human Services sees about 200-300 walk-ins per week for food referrals and assistance so the mobile food pantries are a way to reach those SNAP recipients, Bolden said.
In Fiscal Year 2018 the city supported 40,977 individuals by issuing them SNAP, city officials said.
Those individuals make up 18,741 households.
For the upcoming mobile food pantry, the city is looking for volunteers.
To volunteer, email atesterm@VBgov.com.
The mobile food pantry hours will run from 10 a.m. to noon and then from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.