Letter: Increase SNAP benefits until this crisis passes
With more than 40 million Americans unemployed while food prices are rising, people are being forced to choose between rent and groceries. This is now the situation here in North Dakota. Despite our reputation as a bread basket, many who live here are not getting the food they need, and charitable donations cannot meet the high demand. Hunger is quickly becoming a COVID-19 health risk, and children are particularly vulnerable. Healthy brain development depends on adequate nutrition, so children can’t wait.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger. And it is built for crises just like this. Back in 2008, SNAP not only reduced food insecurity in the middle of a recession, it also helped the economy recover (every $1 in new SNAP spending creates $1.50 - $1.80 in economic activity). It can do so again.
There appears to be some bipartisan support in Congress to increase SNAP benefits during this crisis. I urge Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer to join this effort and resume COVID relief negotiations now, so legislation that increases the maximum SNAP benefit by 15% can be passed. Let’s make sure our children are fed.