Attributed to Kate Leone, Chief Government Relations Officer
“The House of Representatives’ passage of a continuing resolution (CR) that extends several key federal nutrition programs and ensures the government is funded until December 11 is a positive step forward for millions of families struggling with hunger in this country. As the largest hunger-relief organization in the nation, we know families are looking for assurance that they can put food on the table during this difficult time. This bill will help to lessen some families’ concerns over how they will access their next meal, but more nutrition assistance is necessary. The most important thing Congress and the administration can do to help our neighbors facing hunger is to increase benefits in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and we are eager for further action.
“We are pleased that the CR extends and improves Pandemic EBT (P-EBT), a program that provide families an EBT card with the monetary value of school meals when schools are closed or disrupted due to COVID-19. The bill importantly expands P-EBT to Puerto Rico and the US territories, providing critical resources to those areas where the government has historically underfunded nutrition assistance. The bill also provides critical flexibilities for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to safely keep eligible families enrolled, and extends USDA’s authority to provide child nutrition waivers for school meals programs to make it easier for more families to get the meals they need. We call on USDA to use this authority to extend child nutrition and other program waivers for the entire school year to help people facing hunger and ensure our food bank network is able to reach more children in need during the pandemic.
“Despite these positive provisions, the extensions of the federal nutrition programs in the CR do not go far enough to address increased food prices and the additional need our network is seeing on the ground. Congress and the administration must still agree on a comprehensive COVID-19 relief package that includes an increase to the maximum SNAP benefit by 15 percent for the duration of the economic downturn. At a time when food prices are at an all-time high, an increase in SNAP benefits will provide vital relief to the millions of families choosing between paying bills and putting food on the table and will provide a needed economic boost as benefits are spent at local grocery stores.
“We urge Congress and the administration to work expeditiously to address the growing hunger crisis.”
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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 5.2 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.