FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nicole Aber, 646-627-7741
Anti-Hunger Advocates Showcase National Hunger Clock, Tracking how Long Senate is Holding Up Food Aid for Americans
By Stalling Vote on Heroes Act, McConnell Denies Hungry Families $16 Billion —Including $133 Million for Kentucky — in Food Assistance
Advocates Call on Hungry Americans and Service Providers to Share Why More Aid is Needed Now and to Sign Petition to Bring to Senate
The U.S. Senate is currently holding up nearly $16 billion in food aid over the next 16 months for hungry Americans by delaying a vote on the most recent Covid-19 relief bill, the Heroes Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in mid-May. Hunger Free America, a nationwide direct service and advocacy organization, has created a petition to urge the Senate to pass the Heroes Act as swiftly as possible, highlighting the exact number of days and hours that food assistance is continuing to be denied to Americans in need.
Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America said: “It is simply unconscionable that the Senate would not act immediately to help the tens of millions of Americans currently struggling with food insecurity. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that he will not bring the Heroes Act before the Senate for a vote until late July. By doing this, he is denying families and individuals in his home state of Kentucky at least $133 million over the next 16 months to purchase groceries.”
That boost in food funding would be accomplished in the bill by a 15 percent increase in benefits for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. That hike would increase the average SNAP benefit nationwide by about 20 cents per meal, from the current level of $1.34 per meal to $1.54 per meal.
Continued Berg, “Child hunger across the country has increased five-fold during the pandemic. Despite this hunger epidemic, 37 days have already gone by without the Senate taking any action to help hungry Americans. We urge all individuals struggling with food insecurity as well as service providers on the front lines at food banks to share their stories on this dedicated Hunger Free America Facebook group about why this legislation is crucial. And we encourage everyone to sign this petition for the Senate to act immediately.”
In addition to including a 15 percent increase for SNAP funding, the Heroes Act that passed the House also includes the following measures that would significantly reduce hunger and increase economic activity across the country:
- Boosts the minimum monthly SNAP benefit from the current level of $16 to $30.
- Puts on hold Trump Administration rules to slash SNAP.
- Extends the length of time that the Pandemic-EBT Program – which increases the food purchasing power of families with kids in closed schools – stays in effect.
- Extends the Pandemic-EBT Program to include younger children who normally would be going to daycare programs.
- Allows people to temporarily buy hot foods with SNAP at retail outlets that already accept SNAP.
- Increases funding for WIC nutritional supplements for pregnant women and small children.
- Increases funding for school meals departments within school districts.
- Provides more food and funding to food distribution charities.