When you speak out, you use your voice to urge your elected officials to do their part to help end hunger. Decisions made by our elected officials have a huge impact both on the supply of food available to give to people in need and on the demand for charitable food assistance.

Congressional Response to the COVID-19 Crisis

Phase 1 – The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act

  • Emergency supplemental appropriations of $8.3 billion in FY2020 to combat the spread of COVID-19 and counter the pandemic.
  • It provides for vaccine development, small business assistance, and international response.

Phase 2 – The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

  • Funding for free coronavirus testing,
  • Paid sick and emergency leave for American workers affected by the pandemic,
  • $400 million for TEFAP; $500 million for WIC
  • Suspended time limits on SNAP benefits for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) and allows states to apply for a temporary emergency increase in monthly SNAP benefits for households.
  • Authorized states to provide EBT cards to families with children who would otherwise receive free or reduced school meals and to continue school meal programs without the congregate feeding requirement

Phase 3 – The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)

  • Estimated $300 billion in direct cash payments of up to $1,200 to individuals making up to $99,000.
  • $150 billion for Coronavirus Relief Fund for state, tribal, and local governments to cover costs broadly.
  • Expanded unemployment insurance and small business loans
  • $450 million for TEFAP; $15 billion for SNAP; $8.8 billion for child nutrition programs

Advocating for Strengthening SNAP – Phase 4

The unprecedented disruption to the economy, incomes, and employment triggered by COVID-19 means that communities will need every option available to fight hunger and strengthen the economy. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) serves as a frontline defense against food insecurity, poverty, and the long-term detriments they cause. By providing families with a grocery benefit they can use to purchase food directly, SNAP is a safe, effective way to ensure that low-income children, families, and seniors can get the food they need. Given the extraordinary increase in need during this public health pandemic and related economic crisis, we urge Congress to:

  • Increase to SNAP benefits by at least 15 percent for as long as the economy is weak – not just during the public health emergency – to provide effective economic stimulus and critical food assistance;
  • Increase to the SNAP minimum monthly benefit from $16 to $30; and
  • Delay the implementation of proposed and final rules that the Administration has issued for SNAP.

Strengthening SNAP will not only feed families – it will also boost the economy. SNAP is an economic multiplier, infusing money into local economies. Economists estimate that every dollar in SNAP benefits spent during a recession generates between $1.50 and $1.80 in economic activity because it frees up cash for poor households to buy other essential items – like diapers and medication – and provides revenue directly to stores, thus helping maintain local jobs.

Given the unprecedented nature of this crisis, seniors, families, and children need SNAP benefits more than ever before. Congress should act now to make these benefits more robust, which will ensure that everyone is able to put food on the table in the coming months and support the economic recovery.

Contacting Your Legislators 

Call your U.S. Representative and Senators today to urge them to strengthen SNAP through much needed legislation. Contacting your legislators can ensure that they know how important the issue of hunger and SNAP is to their constituents. See below for your federal legislators’ contact information. 

  • Call (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Representative
  • Senator Bob Casey — 202-224-6324
  • Senator Pat Toomey — 202-224-4254

You can make a difference! Join our email list to stay in the know or check back here often to see the easy actions you can take to help our neighbors. We also encourage you to register to vote and vote for individuals who care about the issue of hunger. Thank you for lending your voice for our neighbors in need.

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