PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) – More than 30 million Americans will see their food-stamp benefits slashed starting next month.

Congress voted to cut emergency food stamp allotments in 32 states, including West Virginia and Virginia. The emergency funds were distributed at the beginning of the pandemic.

However, Sergeant Melissa White with the Mercer County salvation army said the cuts could not come at a worse time, as high food prices are leaving more people hungry than ever before.

“We have had a stronger request for food than we have had in some years. We are seeing people for the first time who have never had to ask for help before in their life,” said White.

Food stamp recipients will lose an estimated 82 dollars worth of benefits per person. This means a family of four would see their monthly benefits cut by more than 300 dollars a month.

That’s going to drive even more demand toward food pantries like the Salvation Army, but Sergeant White told 59News they can barely keep up as things are now.

“Our shelves are barer than they’ve been in a long time,” said White. “I attribute that to people not having the extra to give.”

Sergeant White said cutting funding for food stamps will not just create more food insecurity problems. It will also lead to other problems as more people are forced to choose how to spend their money.

“Food is not only a way of feeding someone right now, it’s also a homelessness prevention act,” White told 59News. “If they have to choose between food and rent, what are they going to do? And if they don’t even have the money for food then they’re not going to have money for rent as well because they have to have food to survive.”

The Salvation Army of Mercer County will be holding more food drives in the coming months to try to prepare for another sharp increase in food demand.