July 27, 2020

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FRAC’S COVID-19 Updates

Check out FRAC's COVID-19 page for updates, statements, and resources on actions to address the food security, public health, and economic impacts of the COVID-19 emergency. Explore FRAC’s Pandemic-EBT page which tracks this new federal program across the country.

COVID-19: Food Insecurity and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Lambers: Compassion is the Answer, Times Argus, July 23, 2020
“COVID-19 is taking a toll on Americans, threatening food security, health, and economic well-being in the short term and long term,” said Luis Guardia, president of the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC). “The government needs to act now to limit the depth and duration of the hardship. The Senate should act immediately to boost SNAP benefits, to address food hardship and to get our economy moving.”

Nevada experiences surge in first-time applicants for food stamps, 8 News Now (KLAS-TV) , July 23, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an 18 percent unemployment rate for the month of June. Before the pandemic, the state of Nevada says of the applications it received, 33 percent of those were first-time applicants. In April, during the pandemic, 60 percent were first-time applicants. To accommodate this need, the state has opted into certain waivers. “Our work requirements have been waived,” said Julie Balderson, spokesperson for the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.

Report: Coronavirus Worsens Food Insecurity in the South, FERN’s AG Insider (Subscription Only), July 19, 2020
Three Southern states — Arkansas, Kentucky, and Virginia — are among the eight states nationwide with the lowest participation rates in SNAP, says FRAC. The coronavirus pandemic “is exacerbating the already alarming rates of food insecurity in the Southern region,” said a FRAC report that recommends expansion of federal nutrition programs, such as SNAP, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and school meals, to meet the need.

USDA approves Arkansas and Hawaii to accept SNAP benefits online, FOX 16 News, July 23, 2020
The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced this past Thursday the request from Arkansas and Hawaii to provide SNAP recipients with the option to purchase food online has been approved. The approval will allow Arkansas and Hawaii to expedite the implementation of online purchasing with currently authorized SNAP online retailers, although the start date has yet to be announced. Arkansas’ SNAP participation is made up of more than 354,000 individuals and totals $460 million annually in federal benefits. Hawaii’s SNAP participation is made up of more than 144,000 individuals and totals $488 million annually in federal benefits.

Letter to the Editor: Maryland Hunger Solutions, The Southern Maryland Chronicle, July 23, 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge the entire globe, thousands of older Marylanders are struggling to put food on the table, let alone stockpile enough food to shelter in place. As department of social services closures continue in our state, Maryland Hunger Solutions provides eligible residents with avenues to apply for SNAP benefits. In this letter to the editor, Maryland Hunger Solutions Director Michael J. Wilson explains that it’s not just Veterans in Maryland who are impacted by the pandemic. Wilson points out that prior to the pandemic, there were more than 600,000 Marylanders on SNAP according to the Maryland Department of Human Services. SNAP is the nation’s first line of defense against food insecurity. 


COVID-19:  Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT)

Two-thirds of children eligible for Pandemic EBT benefits were not receiving SNAP benefits, Carson Now, July 23, 2020
The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services estimates that nearly 223,000 Nevada children who were not already receiving SNAP benefits will now be eligible for Nevada’s P-EBT program. Any child eligible for free and reduced lunch in Nevada schools will be eligible for these benefits. Neither children nor their parents need to be U.S. citizens to qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Benefits, worth up to $296 per child, can be used to purchase food items at approved retailers. For families that are SNAP recipients already, funds will be deposited onto existing cards.

Over 200,000 debit cards sent to Arkansans with children in free, reduced meal program, THV11, July 20, 2020
In Arkansas, households with children enrolled in the free or reduced-price meal programs should be on the lookout for a white envelope containing their P-EBT card. “This is the first time we’ve ever received any kind of benefit like that, so I thought it was important to get the word out and [families] don’t throw it away with junk mail,” said Christy Chism, a mother whose son qualifies for free or reduced priced meals. Families will receive a one-time payment of $319 per student and have one year to use the benefit. “You do not have to apply for this benefit. If your child was enrolled in the free or reduced national school lunch program at their school, the school has provided that information,” said Arkansas Department of Human Services spokesperson Amy Webb.

Some changes coming to school lunches, FOX6 News (6WBRC), July 22, 2020
When schools first closed due to the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture passed a waiver that allowed schools to feed any student who showed up and even give out meals in bulk. But when school starts back in a few weeks, Alabama State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey says that waiver goes away and things will return to one meal per person per day. Some school districts say that if a student chooses the virtual school option then meals will be provided to them. However, households should check with their school to find out the school’s plan because not all are the same.

About Us

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.

Contact Us

Food Research & Action Center
1200 18th Street, NW Suite 400
Washington, District of Columbia 20036
(202) 986-2200