Statement attributed to Luis Guardia, president, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC)
WASHINGTON, July 27, 2020 — Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s proposed COVID-19 response omits Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit boosts and falls woefully short of the investments needed to address food and economic hardship and jump-start economic recovery. The pandemic relief proposal fails to meet the needs of the growing number of hungry households that have been significantly impacted by this public health and economic crisis. The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) calls on lawmakers to reject the McConnell proposal and instead redouble efforts to quickly craft and enact a package with SNAP boosts that would get meals onto struggling Americans’ kitchen tables and stimulate economic growth.
The hunger and economic crisis caused by COVID-19 is all too real for millions of Americans, and it is hitting Black, Hispanic and Indian Country households particularly hard. Research shows that nearly four in 10 Black and Hispanic households with children are now struggling to feed their families. The pandemic is also creating new faces of hunger, with many households across the country seeking food assistance for the first time.
Over the last several months, there have been alarmingly long lines at local food banks. But there also have been invisible long lines of people seeking SNAP benefits. Charities cannot provide food aid on the scale required by the COVID-19 crisis. SNAP can. SNAP provides nine meals for every one meal provided by food banks.
Last month, nearly 2,500 organizations from every state and corner of the country signed on to a letter urging the Senate to boost the maximum SNAP benefit by 15 percent and to increase the minimum SNAP benefit from $16 to $30 – moves that are critical to spurring the economy. During an economic downturn, each $1 of SNAP benefits generates between $1.50 and $1.80 in economic activity. The funds are spent quickly and turn over in the economy, having proven positive impacts on the entire food chain.
Feeding our country’s hungry families and children is something everyone should agree on. Boosts to SNAP benefits are smart investments that both address food hardship and get our economy moving. Lawmakers need to act now. Congress should not leave Washington, D.C., without a SNAP benefits boost in the final deal.
The Food Research & Action Center is the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States. To learn more, visit FRAC.org and follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.