Statement attributed to Vince Hall, Interim Chief Government Relations Officer
“As President Biden prepares to sign the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law, Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization is hopeful that our neighbors in need, who have faced over a year of heightened crises, will have increased access to the nutritious food they need to thrive.
“The bill includes invaluable provisions such as additional Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits food dollars that will help families during these tough times; continued payments through the Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program for households with children who have lost access to nutritious school and child care meals, including through the summer months additional financial support through strengthening the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is projected to reduce child poverty by 50 percent; and $4 billion in funding for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to use to support our nation’s food supply chain, including food purchases to be distributed to people in need through nonprofit organizations.
“As important as these provisions are, more food assistance will be needed to overcome the heightened levels of hunger our communities are facing. Feeding America projects that for 2021, approximately 42 million people—one in eight individuals in America—could experience food insecurity due in part to the ongoing economic fallout from COVID-19. We also know that many people who have been most impacted by the pandemic were food insecure or at risk before the pandemic and are facing greater hardship now. The bill only extends the 15 percent boost to SNAP benefits through September 30, 2021, and not for the duration of the economic crisis. Research from USDA shows that for every dollar of food benefits spent through SNAP, between $1.50 and $1.80 is generated in the economy. Additional support is also needed through continued investments in the charitable sector as food banks across the country still face lines that go for miles. The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is the cornerstone of the charitable food system that moves nutritious, healthy food from farmers to food banks to families in need. If additional support is not provided, our network of food banks will face a decline of 30-40 percent of this critical food from U.S. growers and producers.
“In addition to the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, other important progress was made this week for neighbors facing hunger when the Supreme Court approved a request from the Biden Administration to dismiss a case regarding the public charge rule limiting benefits eligibility. In addition, summer meal waivers that were set to expire in June were extended until September, providing more meals to children nationwide.
“Thanks to the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, millions of people can look forward to much-needed assistance during these difficult times. Feeding America looks forward to working with the Biden Administration and Congress to implement the food assistance programs supported by the American Rescue Plan Act in an equitable and effective way, as well as advocate for further assistance for millions of 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 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.