WISCONSIN — As food assistance from the federal government starts to return to the level it was at pre-pandemic, Wisconsin is bracing for how that will affect people across the state. 

What You Need To Know

  • Federal food assistance programs expected to scale back/end by 2022

  • Pandemic "Farmers to Families Food Box" program to end May 31​

  • More challenges for Wisconsinites when it comes to consistent access to healthy food

  • Almost half a million people in Wisconsin now face hunger, a 27% increase from pre-pandemic numbers

According to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, food banks have yet to see a decrease in need. 

"We're really seeing a steady group of people that have been coming throughout the pandemic," Maureen Fitzgerald, vice president of government relations said.

The hunger relief organization is bracing for the "COVID cliff," Fitzgerald explained. As federal programs start to scale back, or end support entirely, Fitzgerald expects the biggest drop off to come in 2022. Food pantries will need more supplies 

Right now, roughly half a million eastern Wisconsinites face hunger: That's 27% more than before the pandemic.  

To prepare for the increased need Fitzgerald commented Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin is, "really looking holistically at how we make sure there's no one hungry in our community."

Fitzgerald said they are talking to lawmakers as the state budget is hammered out and "looking at federal programs and saying 'when these programs end what are we going to do?'"

She also pointed out, "one of the best things about Wisconsin is we have a really generous community, that we don't like to see our neighbors struggling."

You can help by making a donation to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.