DENVER (KDVR) — Emergency SNAP benefits officially expired Wednesday in 35 states, including Colorado. Recipients of the extra boost can expect to see a significant reduction in their monthly benefits, which leaves families scrambling for resources.

Food banks and pantries across the state are now bracing for the impact.

As inflation remains high, some families will have to choose between groceries and other essential bills, like rent, and will turn now more than ever to food banks and resources that are stepping up.

Food banks brace for ‘biggest increase in need’ ever

The Band-Aid was ripped off Wednesday for tens of thousands of Coloradans as one of the few remaining federal COVID-19 protection measures came to an end.

At Food Bank of the Rockies, vital volunteers were working tirelessly to pack up fresh produce, essential staples and more. Thousands of pounds of food are being prepared for distribution across the state.

CEO Erin Pulling said they’re expecting an overwhelming impact as they too grapple with food inflation.

“We’re bracing for perhaps the biggest increase in need that we have ever seen,” Pulling said. “We’ve already tripled the amount of money that we’re spending on food every month, and now we’re bracing for another increase.”

Pulling told FOX31 in the weeks leading up to the expiration, they’ve already seen a big surge. Colorado will lose $55 million in benefits a month, which equates to a $95 deduction per individual and a $360 deduction for a family of four.

Families will be flocking to food banks and pantries for help.

Food Bank of the Rockies is responding to the dire need, which requires purchasing more food. The organization relies on financial donors and the generosity of the public. Pulling said donating money is better than donating items, because they can stretch a dollar further by buying in bulk.

“We’re leveraging our massive purchasing power. We’re purchasing about 15 truckloads of food every week. We can stretch every dollar donated to distribute enough food for three meals,” Pulling said.

Polis expected to sign food bank aid bill

Food banks and pantries are also hoping for state assistance. Right now, a bill is on Gov. Jared Polis’ desk that would allot $14 million to food banks and pantries across the state. The goal is to alleviate some of the added pressures on families and essential resources.

“While that is tremendous and is going to help close the gap, it actually only will cover about 2% of the reduction of the SNAP benefits that we are seeing,” Pulling said.

The bill is awaiting Polis’ signature and is not yet finalized. FOX reached out to the governor’s office, which stated that “he plans to sign it.”