Join us for a Week of Action, June 22–25 to elevate SNAP and nutrition priorities before the Senate’s July 4 recess! The House has passed the HEROES Act, now it is time for the Senate to act. Learn more.
Nearly 2,5000 Organizations Urge Senate to Boost SNAP Benefits Nearly 2,500 organizations from across the country signed on to a letter urging the Senate to boost Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in the next coronavirus relief package. The letter asks for a 15 percent boost in the SNAP maximum benefit, an increase in the SNAP minimum monthly benefit from $16 to $30, and a suspension of SNAP time limits and rules changes that would cut SNAP eligibility and benefits. To learn more about the impact of this sign-on letter, read the complete statement from the Food Research & Action Center, Feeding America, and Center for American Progress.
COVID-19: School Meals
COVID-19 Has Heightened the Threat of Child Hunger, While Efforts to Prevent It Have Fallen Short, U.S. News & World Report, June 16, 2020 Ensuring children have access to meals through federal nutrition programs is a challenge typically faced over the summer break when participation in free meals programs decreases. “It’s not as easy to reach kids when you don’t have a captive audience in the cafeteria,” says Crystal FitzSimons, director of School and Out-of-School Time Programs at the Food Research & Action Center. “For example, there’s transportation barriers, families need to know where they can access meals, (and) the hours need to work for families so that they can pick them up.” Congress passed legislation in March that included $8.8 billion for child nutrition programs and advocates are encouraging for additional funding in the next package.
Families with school kids qualify for Pandemic EBT, Willapa Harbor Herald, June 15, 2020 The Washington Department of Social and Health Services, and the Washington Office of Superintendent and Public Instruction will issue Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits to SNAP households and non-SNAP households, which include children eligible for free and reduced-price school meals, through the state’s SNAP EBT card system. Washington state estimates that it will issue $91.9 million to 230,391 students in SNAP households, and $99.3 million to 248,763 students in non-SNAP households for school closures extending from March 13, 2020, through June 19, 2020, a total of 70 days.
Feeding a Global Need: Youth Hunger and Malnutrition Continue to Grow, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 17, 2020 According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 12 million children nationwide receive free or reduced-price breakfast at school, and more than 29.7 million get lunch through the National School Lunch Program. During the pandemic, many schools have continued to distribute meals even as schools were closed, but those programs may be shuttering as the school year comes to an end. According to the Food Research & Action Center, many of the children who face a nutrition gap when the school year ends also are affected disproportionately by summer learning loss. This means these children return to school in the fall academically behind their peers and will be struggling to catch up before classes even begin. Some nonprofits are working to fill this nutrition gap, but the need is expected to be greater this summer than previous ones because of the pandemic.
Food scarcity is on the rise in America as the economy reels, CBS News, June 19, 2020 Food insecurity — defined as the inability to afford healthy food for all family members — affected 37 million U.S. households even before the start of the disease outbreak. But food shortages are on the rise as unemployment has surged into double-digits and many workers are furloughed without pay. While food banks are stepping up, the need is overwhelming. A Houston Food Bank said that demand had jumped 150 percent from prior to the pandemic. To offset the burden on food banks, groups are advocating Congress for a 15 percent increase in maximum benefits for SNAP and an increase in the SNAP minimum monthly benefit from $16 to $30.
Unemployment, The Real News Network, June 17, 2020 “The biggest misconception is that the people who use these [SNAP and other federal nutrition program] benefits are somehow living high, that they’re living well. And the truth is, people who are experiencing poverty, experiencing food insecurity, whether it’s short term because they lost a job or whether it’s long term because they have real issues of poverty, are doing the best they can to survive,” said Michael J. Wilson, director, Maryland Hunger Solutions.
Black Communities Face Wider Food Shortfalls as COVID Saps Jobs, Bloomberg Government, June 16, 2020 Black households experienced higher rates of food insecurity before the COVID-19 pandemic, at 21.2 percent, more than double the 8.1 percent among White households, according to USDA. To increase access to food, USDA could expand the pilot program for online purchasing for SNAP recipients. With the U.S. economy headed into a recession, Geraldine Henchy, director of Nutrition Policy and Early Childhood Programs at the Food Research & Action Center, says that Congress needs to “[m]ake SNAP a program that people can keep using, that they’re not going to get thrown off of.”
SC, Utah approved to accept SNAP benefits online, WSPA North Carolina, June 16, 2020 The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture announced Tuesday, June 16, the approval of requests from South Carolina and Utah to provide online purchases of food to SNAP households. According to USDA, customers can only buy eligible food with SNAP benefits, but they may not use their SNAP EBT card to pay for delivery fees and other associated charges. The program is already in use in 37 additional states and partners with authorized retailers Amazon and Walmart.
Amazon Expands Food Stamp Program: 90% of SNAP Households Can Now Order Groceries Online, The Motley Fool, June 17, 2020 In 2019, Amazon launched an online purchasing pilot program with USDA, the federal agency that administers SNAP. The program is being fast-tracked to increase the number of states eligible to participate. Through the extended program, some 90 percent of all households eligible for SNAP benefits will be able to use those benefits to shop for groceries on Amazon and with other participating retailers. To ensure that items will ship free, Amazon is even waiving the requirement of a Prime membership, which ordinarily costs $119 per year, in order to provide free Amazon Fresh shipping for SNAP participants.
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.
Food Research & Action Center 1200 18th Street, NW Suite 400 Washington, District of Columbia 20036 (202) 986-2200 email@example.com