Statement attributed to Kate Leone, Chief Government Relations Officer
“Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, applauds the news that President Biden is expected to sign an executive order that will provide much-needed federal food assistance to families struggling to afford enough to eat. President Biden’s first direct action to address the nation’s hunger surge will include an immediate boost to benefits in the Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program — a program that provides families with money to replace meals that millions of children lost access to at the onset of the pandemic due to school and childcare closures. The boost will provide additional critical resources to keep our children nourished and healthy.
“The executive order also takes two steps that will bolster the power of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), our nation’s first line of defense against hunger. Last spring, states were provided the flexibility to provide extra, emergency SNAP food benefits to our neighbors in need in the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act. Unfortunately, the law was interpreted to exclude nearly 40 percent of SNAP households with the lowest incomes who already received the maximum benefit. We applaud the Biden Administration for reviewing their authority to provide a pathway to allow states to increase SNAP benefits delivered through emergency allotments. Additionally, the executive order will begin the work of revising the Thrifty Food Plan — the basis for determining SNAP benefits — to better factor in the economic realities that families in need must navigate today when accessing their next meal. These two new measures in the executive order will strengthen the impact of SNAP, a program that provides nine meals for every one meal the Feeding America network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs provide. These measures will take time to implement, making it even more important to include immediate investments in food assistance in upcoming legislation and through food purchases to ensure that the food bank network can continue to help put food on the table for families in need.
“On January 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, President Biden participated in a food packing event hosted by Feeding America network member, Philabundance, marking the president’s commitment to making addressing hunger a top priority for his Administration. We are heartened by the president’s quick first steps to making that commitment a reality. The pandemic and economic downturn have made it harder to ensure families have enough to eat. We look forward to continuing to work with the Biden Administration to address the hunger crisis in the United States.”
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About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of more than 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank associations, and over 60,000 partner agencies, food pantries and meal programs, we helped provide 5.3 billion meals to tens of millions of people in need last year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; brings attention to the social and systemic barriers that contribute to food insecurity in our nation; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.