SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – A local food pantry is feeling the effects after pandemic-era SNAP benefits expired at the end of last month.

The community food warehouse of Mercer County says they have had an exponential increase in demand compared to this time last year.

Pandemic-era SNAP benefits provided those who were in need with the maximum benefit allotment. Since March, that extra money went away and the amount returned to normal.

During the pandemic, families were receiving maximum benefits or $95 dollars more, whichever value was greater. With that gone and the price of food out-pacing the need for many, Community Food Warehouse is helping more hungry residents in Mercer County.

“When that dropped off and went back to normal times, they are talking about between $16 and $25 a month as opposed to $270, so that’s a big difference in your grocery cart every month,” said Rebecca Paige, executive director of Community Food Warehouse.

The pantry continues to collect donations and asks anyone who can volunteer to do so.