HUNTSVILLE, Ala (WHNT) — With extra Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits ending in March, local food banks are stepping in to fill the gap.

Around 400 thousand Alabama homes will see a reduction in the money they receive when the program ends. Many families will have to rely on other outlets for food.

Prices in grocery stores remain high. Since the start of the pandemic, the federal government has given extra snap benefits to those in need

However, when March begins will no longer be giving extra benefits to families. With COVID era SNAP benefits coming to an end, those that experience food insecurities will have to look elsewhere.

Food banks across the state are ramping up their efforts in preparation for the aftermath.

Shirley Schofield, executive director at the Food Bank of North Alabama, says the giving spirit of Huntsville will enable many to be fed after the benefits program ends.

“Luckily we are in a very giving community so we have been able to try to get more funding through grants and through things like that, but we’ve also had to internally increase our food purchasing budget just to make sure we have enough food available for the people who need it most,” Schofield said.

More than 11 million pounds of food were distributed last year alone at the Food Bank of North Alabama.

Due to the end of extra benefits, there is an expected increase in food insecurities. Food banks such as North Alabama look to ensure those in need have a place to come if they need help.

Those looking for assistance can go to the Food Bank of North Alabama website for more information.