At MomsRising we are hearing from families every day wondering how they are going to put food on the table:
“I am a mother of two and I am expecting my third. My oldest child is nine and she receives free breakfast and lunch at school. Our family lives from paycheck to paycheck and therefore forcing us to spend more money on food impacts our ability to pay additional bills. My infant child also receives free meals and formula at his daycare and while his daycare has not officially closed as of yet, a closure is impending. I am a social worker and I attend to clients' needs directly in their home. This impacts both their health and my family's health. I fear that our meager savings will be wasted on quarantine related expenses.” –Katherine, NY
“I am not able to care for children in my daycare job so my income has been affected. I have food stamps but can't order to get food delivered and I don't drive so must take the bus to Publix against my desire because I don’t think it’s safe. We all need tests and it is not possible.”-Cynthia, FL
Katherine and Cynthia are not alone. Nearly one-fifth of mothers with young children have reported that their children are not getting enough to eat during this pandemic—a terrifying statistic!
Congress is starting to work on a new COVID-19 relief package and we need to make sure they prioritize the health and well-being of our families by boosting SNAP (food stamps) nutrition assistance to help moms like Katherine and Cynthia.
The Families First Act passed in March was a step in the right direction in addressing the stark nutrition needs of families during this pandemic, but much more is needed. On Friday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that makes necessary changes to SNAP to help families struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. Now we need the U.S. Senate to do the same!
We need our Senators to prioritize the nutrition needs of our families. They must guarantee that anyone who needs nutrition assistance is able to access it and increase benefits to better serve struggling families. They can do this in the following ways:
- A 15% boost to the maximum SNAP benefit nationwide. This should be tied to an economic indicator, not the duration of the pandemic.
- Raise the minimum benefit from $16/month to $30/month.
- Suspend all Trump administrative rules that limit access to SNAP and child nutrition programs in order to remove barriers to access for those in need.
Guaranteeing that struggling families are able to access SNAP quickly and have the extra money they need to make sure they can purchase food during this difficult time also boosts the economy. It’s a win-win! SNAP benefits are one of the fastest, most effective forms of economic stimulus because they get money into the economy very quickly. Some 80 percent of SNAP benefits are redeemed within two weeks of receipt; 97 percent are spent within a month. And this is a positive change for families that can be implemented quickly and efficiently because we already have the infrastructure up and running in all states. This is especially important now as the Unemployment Insurance and direct payment checks are taking a long time to filter down to families.
Boosting SNAP boosts families AND our struggling economy! Congress can’t possibly move their next COVID-19 relief package forward without including crucial improvements to nutrition assistance.
In the face of COVID-19, unemployment numbers are skyrocketing to levels we haven’t seen since the Great Depression, and women, especially women of color, are being hit particularly hard by these lay-offs. Despite a major overhaul of our unemployment insurance system, a lot of workers still haven’t seen their benefit checks and the one time $1,200 direct payment the government provided to some families in April is not enough to stretch well into May. Families are struggling to pay all their bills and still put food on the table. Prior to COVID-19, American families were struggling with food insecurity with 1 in 9 Americans, including 11 million children, struggling with hunger—the pandemic has only made this situation worse!
A new survey has shown just how bad things are getting for families: Nearly 23% of households said the food they bought “just didn’t last” and they didn’t have the money to buy more, according to a national survey from late April. That compares to about 12% of households in 2018 and 16% during the worst point of the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009.
These negotiations in Congress are starting to get tough. Not everyone is on the same page about the need for a boost to SNAP, let alone another COVID-19 relief package—Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and his allies have come straight out and said multiple times that they don’t want to boost SNAP in any way. We need YOU to help change their minds and let them know this is crucial to our families. After you sign our letter, forward this email to your friends and family and post the action link to Facebook so others can take action as well.
Thank you so much for your continued action in speaking out for our families during this truly difficult time!