Yonkers YMCA: Demand for food increases as SNAP benefits roll back to pre-pandemic levels

A provision being considered in the state budget has many organizations that feed low-income families worried.
Lucria Ortiz, president and CEO of the YMCA of Yonkers, says the need for food is growing by the day since last month, when the federal government rolled back food stamps, also known as SNAP benefits, to pre-pandemic levels.
There were long lines at food distribution Monday morning outside the YMCA of Yonkers. Ortiz says more than 3,000 pounds of food were gone in minutes.
"We are providing a service because there is incredible food insecurity not only in southwest Yonkers, but all over Yonkers," says Ortiz. 
Yonkers residents News 12 spoke to say with rising food costs, being able to afford food now is an extreme hardship.
"You go in there, and a pack of chicken is $15 - that's ridiculous. Even ground beef, everything is going up. It's going up tremendously and it's terrible," says Fern Lunsford, of Yonkers. 
Now, further cuts to programs that feed New Yorkers are looming. The governor's proposed budget slashes funding for programs, like the Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program, from $56 million to $34 million.
"That is giving us a lot of anxiety already. We've had this federal cut but with the state cuts – we know that there's going to be hardship endured by many," says Ortiz.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman, who represents much of Westchester, says food insecurity has become a top complaint to his office.
"The federal government should be stepping in providing additional stimulus checks but also pushing employers to pay a living wage," says Rep. Bowman.