Foodlink issued the following statement this week, in response to the House of Representative’s release of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES Act):
The latest COVID-19 relief bill introduced May 12 in the House of Representatives provides many of the priorities we had hoped for to curb the sudden rise of food insecurity in our region — and across the country. Although Foodlink takes great pride in its swift response to this crisis, we have been steadfast in our belief that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the most efficient way to feed struggling families, and boost local economies throughout the duration of this crisis.
By boosting SNAP benefits by 15 percent, and raising the minimum allotment from $16 to $30, more people – e.g. seniors, veterans, children, and the recently unemployed — will be able to put healthy food on the table. We were also encouraged that the Act includes a pause on rule changes that would slash SNAP enrollment, an extension of the P-EBT Program, increased WIC funding, and an increase in the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit.
Foodlink applauds the wide-ranging support that this bill offers to vulnerable communities, although we ask that provisions to help low-income households correlate to economic indicators (e.g. unemployment rate) rather than arbitrary time limits – or be made permanent. We also stand by our colleagues at Feeding America who have advocated for increased storage and distribution funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which provides vital support to Foodlink and our entire hunger-relief network.
While we expect a spirited debate over this legislation in Congress, the millions of Americans who are skipping meals on a daily basis due to this crisis deserve a quick response from our elected leaders. On behalf of the thousands of food-insecure people throughout our service area, we urge swift passage of the HEROES Act.