Feeding America Statement on House Vote of HEROES Act

Statement Attributed to Kate Leone, Chief Government Relations Officer

May 15, 2020

“As the nation's largest hunger-relief organization representing a network of 200 member food banks across the United States, Feeding America strongly supports the inclusion of a 15-percent increase to the maximum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit in the HEROES Act, which is being considered the House of Representatives. We also support the bill’s inclusion of $150 million to help food banks meet the exponential growth in need through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). Along with other critical resources provided through SNAP, child nutrition programs, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and other programs, this bill’s nutrition provisions provide essential investments that will help struggling families during this crisis.

The HEROES Act includes other necessary SNAP improvements, including an increase of the minimum SNAP benefit to $30. It would also block administrative rules that, if implemented, would reduce or completely cut SNAP benefits for millions of households. SNAP is vital to the work of our network of 200 member food banks and 60,000 pantries and meal programs serving every congressional district in the country. Last year, our network served more than 4 billion meals, yet for every meal we provide, SNAP provides nine. During this crisis, our network is reporting, on average, an increase in demand of about 60 percent. SNAP is an efficient and cost-effective way to help meet that need and also stimulate local economic activity. During the last recession, for every dollar spent on the SNAP program, $1.70 was generated in the economy. 

We remain concerned about the duration of the increase in SNAP benefits in the HEROES Act. While we support a temporary increase, it should be tied to the economic recovery, which is the best way to ensure that families are positioned to get back on their feet quickly so they no longer need federal or charitable assistance. A premature end to the increase could lead to another surge in need from individuals facing food insecurity and an increase in demand at food banks across the country. While the additional TEFAP food will help, our network continues to face increased costs resulting from the pandemic while our volunteer base has diminished. In addition, the increase in TEFAP foods does not provide our network with funding for storage and distribution or the long-term capacity necessary for food banks as we prepare for prolonged demand. 

We look forward to continuing to work with Congress to strengthen SNAP and better help our network of food banks respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Now more than ever, we need our nation's leaders to take all necessary steps to keep our food assistance system, including the public and private sector, healthy and robust in order to help our neighbors in need.”


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About Feeding America

Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 40 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.