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An Examination of Monthly Food Pantry Cycles in the Context of SNAP Benefits

AAEA members release new research in AEPP

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), may be the most notable Food Assistance Programs available nationally. The SNAP program provides food budget discounts to needy families whereas food panties aquire donations of food to hand out to the needy for free. According to new research, pantry-goers do not always exhaust pantry options. In a food bank network where clients were able to visit pantiries up to twice per week, ¾ of them visited once per month or less, often at predictable times of the month. So how does the food pantry intake cycle interact with SNAP?

In the new article, “The Other Half: An Examination of Monthly Food Pantry Cycles in the Context of SNAP Benefits,” Anne Byrne and David Just from Cornell University find out if the food pantry visitation cycle over the course of a month and how it might interact with the SNAP cycle.

Byrne says, “Food pantry visitation exhibits a monthly cycle whereby more clients visit later in the month. In the region studied, this increase in visitation coincides with the period when SNAP benefits are likely to be depleted and is most pronounced among those who are likely to be on SNAP. Thus, we conclude that there is evidence that people are using pantries after SNAP benefits run out.”

If you are interested in setting up an interview, please contact Allison Ware in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 60 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices and the online open access publication series Applied Economics Teaching Resources. To learn more, visit

Contact: Allison Ware
Senior Communications Manager
(414) 918-3190
Email: aware@aaea.or