Rolling Rally Lights Up Senate Phone Lines and Social Media, Urges Boosts to SNAP in the Next COVID-19 Recovery Package
Numerous organizations and individuals from across the country welcomed back their Senators from recess with posted videos and photos urging them to act quickly to pass a COVID-19 recovery package that boosts SNAP benefits. Read FRAC’s statement on the day of action here.
Amid a Deadly Virus and Crippled Economy, One Form of Aid Has Proved Reliable: Food Stamps, The New York Times, July 19, 2020 More than 6 million people enrolled in SNAP in the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented expansion that is likely to continue as more jobless people deplete their savings and billions in unemployment aid expires this month. “SNAP is the universal safety net,” said Diane Schanzenbach, an economist at Northwestern University. About 43 million people, roughly 1 of every 8 Americans, now receive SNAP, according to research by The New York Times. Unless Congress acts before the August recess, about 20 million Americans will lose a $600 weekly bonus to unemployment checks. Since that bonus disqualifies most people from SNAP, its elimination could add millions to the rolls.
Thousands of organizations asking U.S. Senate to increase federal food assistance, WIVB, July 17, 2020 Food insecurity is just one of the challenges worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, more than two thousand organizations across the country have sent a letter to the U.S. Senate asking to increase federal food assistance. Luis Guardia, president of FRAC who sent the letter to the Senate, said the Senate is back in session on Monday, and he hopes for action: “Hungry people can’t wait. We need these programs passed now. People need this help.”
Gina Cornia: Utah’s senators should support help for Utah’s hungry, The Salt Lake Tribune, July 19, 2020 In this opinion piece, Gina Cornia, executive director of Utahns Against Hunger, argues that SNAP is one of the best responses to an economic downturn, boosting the economy by $1.50 to $1.80 for each $1 invested. Cornia calls upon Senators Lee and Romney to support a 15 percent increase in the maximum benefit and an increase from the $16 minimum benefit to $30. As more than 30 percent of Utah students participate in free and reduced-price school meals, she also calls for an extension on the waivers that allow school meals to be distributed through the Summer Food Service Program, which would help with streamlining and simplifying meal service.
Colo. Lawmakers in Washington Should Ensure COVID Relief Includes More Food Aid, The Colorado Times Recorder, July 10, 2020 In this opinion piece, Erin Pulling, director of the Food Bank of the Rockies, and Marc Jacobson, director of Hunger Free Colorado, highlight a survey by Healthier Colorado, which found that before the pandemic, 1 in 11 Coloradans were worried about putting food on the table, whereas almost 1 in 3 have become concerned since the pandemic has begun. The authors argue that the next COVID-19 response package passed by Congress must ensure families have access to healthy food, not just in the next few months but over the next few years. They call on Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner to include a 15 percent increase to SNAP benefits in the next COVID-19 response package.
Fudge, Lee Introduce House Resolution Calling for Poverty Bill of Rights, House.gov, July 16, 2020 Reps. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) and Barbara Lee (CA-13) introduced a resolution calling on Congress to reaffirm the rights of all Americans living in poverty by enacting a Poverty Bill of Rights. The resolution comes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen economic inequality and threatens to push millions more Americans into poverty. Thirteen Representatives were original cosponsors for the resolution and the legislation is endorsed by 23 organizations, including FRAC.
Food Security Advocates Push for SNAP Benefit Increases in COVID-19 Stimulus, Flathead Beacon, July 17, 2020 An estimated 60,000 additional Montanans are facing hunger this year due to the pandemic. Advocates are urging Congress to include a 15 percent increase to the SNAP maximum benefit in the next COVID-19 stimulus package. “Number one, incomes have dropped, food prices are rising, people are just living in a state of crisis, and it will make sure they have at least some additional funding,” said Lorianne Burhop, chief policy officer for the Montana Food Bank Network. “Number two, those additional dollars are going into local grocery stories and economies.”
Millions of Americans Going Hungry as Pandemic Erodes Incomes and Destroys Communities, NBC DFW, July 12, 2020 As jobs vanish, incomes drop, and food prices rise, more Americans are going to bed hungry, and advocates warn that without intervention from Congress, those numbers could rise to a level unseen in modern times. “People who never thought they’d experience food insecurity are now seeking food assistance,” said Luis Guardia, president of the nonprofit FRAC.
There are two COVID Americas. One hopes for an extension of federal unemployment and stimulus. The other is saving and spending., USA Today, July 19, 2020 The coronavirus recession has split America in two: those who are still financially intact, and others facing lasting scars. Congress is set to reconvene this week at a critical juncture following a two-week recess as the $600 weekly unemployment benefits under the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) are set to expire at the end of this month. More than two-thirds of Americans say they still need a second stimulus check from the government to help make ends meet, according to recent data from tax preparer Jackson Hewitt. In a different study by Primerica, a financial services provider, of the more than two-thirds of respondents who received a stimulus payment, the most common uses included paying bills (49 percent), buying groceries (36 percent) and adding to savings (25 percent).
Kellogg Company, its customers and community partners join forces to help fight summer hunger, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 16, 2020 It’s now estimated that 18 million kids (1 in 4) in the U.S. could face hunger because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, Kellogg and the Kellogg Company Fund are continuing to support hunger initiatives this summer, which are also helping to support long-term COVID-19 recovery. Included in the list is the extension of the Kellogg’s annual support of Food Research & Action Center’s (FRAC) summer breakfast reportand its companion summer lunch report, which measure successes and shortfalls in reaching hungry children in the U.S. FRAC will also use Kellogg-sponsored funds to help drive awareness, and share best practices and startup costs for implementing summer breakfast service in multiple locations.
Volunteer Translators Have Played Crucial Role During Pandemic, UVA Today, July 13, 2020 An initiative out of the University of Virginia’s Center for English Language and Culture called on volunteers to translate COVID-19 emergency relief resources. Travis Schuck, who is majoring in Spanish, has spent most of his time translating a document about a federal program called Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT), which provides millions in food benefits to more than 68,000 students in the Washington, D.C., area. The translation was requested by the nonprofit D.C. Hunger Solutions.
P-EBT benefits helping families in need, KJRH Tulsa, July 15, 2020 P-EBT is launching in Oklahoma. Due to record numbers in SNAP and EBT applications, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) will not complete all of the processing to families until August 30. Patrick Klein, with the Adult and Family Division in OKDHS, stated, “We are asking families to please be patient with us, and if you’re eligible for the program, you will receive a P-EBT card in the mail, or if you’re an existing SNAP recipient, you’ll receive the additional benefits on your existing SNAP EBT card.”
WIC Nutritional Program offers resources for all caregivers, WIZM News Talk, July 15, 2020 Jennifer Miller, a project nutritionist for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and a Head Start nutrition consultant in La Crosse County, Wisconsin, said WIC serves pregnant women, infants, and children up to age five, as well as their caregivers. Caregivers can include mothers, fathers, grandparents, foster parents, and others. “That is such a key time that we want to keep families on [the program], and you have your dietitian and nutritionist,” Miller said. “You have a sympathetic ear to hear you, but also the referrals.” Those interested can search online for a local WIC office. Because of COVID-19, several offices are managing appointments over the phone or online.
Hurricane Season is One More Reason to Strengthen SNAP Now, July 17, 2020 Even as we struggle with the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, our nation could face additional challenges from hurricanes that typically arise in the Atlantic Ocean during late summer and early fall. Federal action now to boost SNAP benefits and to allow for administrative flexibilities can address hardships due to potential hurricanes as well as those hardships caused by COVID-19. For many years, Disaster SNAP (D-SNAP) waivers have provided important relief to households and communities hard hit by disasters. The federal government should use all of the tools in the disaster recovery toolbox to address the human and economic hardship presented by both COVID-19 and natural disasters.
FRAC is the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States. Visit our website to learn more.
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