With more than 30 million Americans unemployed, people are being forced to choose between rent and groceries. Meanwhile, food banks are overwhelmed, and missed school meals are threatening the nutritional health of our children. As a volunteer at the ALIVE! food pantry in Alexandria, I’ve seen personally the growing demand for food.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps) 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 kept food on the table for millions, it helped the economy recover (every $1 in new SNAP spending creates $1.50-1.80 in economic activity).
It is ready to do so again, but Congress must act. I urge our members of Congress to help hungry Americans by quickly passing legislation that increases the maximum SNAP benefit by 15 percent until this economic crisis ends. Meanwhile, as good neighbors, support your local food banks.