Statement attributed to Vince Hall, Interim Chief Government Relations Officer
“Feeding America is grateful to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for implementing a new policy that increases Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to 25 million people in households with the lowest incomes.
“As the largest hunger-relief organization in the U.S., we know it would be incredibly difficult for millions of individuals facing food insecurity to put healthy food on the table without SNAP benefits. SNAP is the largest anti-hunger program in the country, providing nine meals for every one provided by the Feeding America network of 200 food banks and 60,000 partner pantries and meals sites.
“Moreover, SNAP is one of our most powerful tools for helping our communities bounce back from this public health crisis by providing economic support to our neighborhoods. In fact, research from USDA shows that for every SNAP dollar spent on groceries, between $1.50 and $1.80 is generated in the local economy.
“Millions of families will continue to rely on SNAP for food assistance through this challenging time. Therefore, our number one priority in forthcoming COVID relief legislation will be to ensure that the current 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits will not end in September but is extended through the end of the economic downturn. We will continue to work with Congress and the Administration to ensure that the people we serve will not have to make impossible choices between paying their rent and putting food on the table.”
The updated policy allows for households that had not received at least $95 per month in increased benefits through emergency allotments during the pandemic to now be eligible for additional benefits. This will help the 25 million individuals who are in SNAP households that were already at or were close to receiving the maximum SNAP benefit – specifically helping the nearly 40 percent of SNAP households who had previously been left out completely from this benefit boost. USDA projects this will inject $1 billion per month in food purchasing power into the hands of our neighbors with the lowest incomes. Feeding America estimates this is the equivalent of more than 560 million meals per month.
These SNAP emergency allotments were made possible through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in March 2020 to address food insecurity during the pandemic. These benefits along with a more recent 15 percent boost in SNAP benefits have been critical to individuals facing food insecurity and to mitigating the capacity strains on our network, as the number of people coming to our doors due to the pandemic and economic downturn has increased by an average of 55 percent.
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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 6.6 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.