Utah is home to majestic mountains, peaks and valleys, but we (along with much of the country) have arrived at a critical juncture known as the “Hunger Cliff” – the sudden end of increased Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits that were made available during the pandemic. On March 1, 2023, all SNAP recipients suffered deep cuts to their benefits each month, while at the same time, inflation kept its grip on budgets for day-to-day living expenses, including food.
With these cuts in March, over 77,000 Utah households receiving SNAP lost their additional benefits. This means an average loss of $82 a month per participant, bringing average SNAP benefits to a meager $6 a person per day. Sadly, the steepest cliff has been for many older adults already on fixed incomes — dropping from $281 a month to just $23.
Even before these cuts to benefits, we faced increased demand for food assistance that started during the pandemic and remained high due to inflation. When food budgets get slashed this drastically, we and our 230 partner agencies across the state are the first line of defense, but filling this gap is proving to be a daunting task with no relief in sight. The Hunger Cliff is the point at which progress in fighting hunger stagnates or reverses. We are at a critical threshold that, if surpassed, could plunge our communities into severe food insecurity.
Hunger is a formidable challenge, but by raising awareness and taking action, we can make a tangible difference in the lives of those affected. Together, we are Fighting Hunger Statewide, and together we can foster a community that ensures access to nutritious food for all and a more inclusive Utah for everyone. Your gifts of food, time or money can keep us from the edge of this precipitous cliff, so to find out how you can get involved, click HERE and select from the options at the top of the page.