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Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World today applauded Congress and Trump administration for the near-unanimous passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). While the package includes many important provisions to help people affected by COVID-19, much more is needed to ensure the most vulnerable families have the support they need.
“We thank Congress and the Trump administration for coming together on this substantial economic stimulus package,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “CARES will help millions of people affected by the health and economic consequences of COVID-19 – both in the U.S. and around the world. However, Congress must do more to help families who were already on the economic margins.”
CARES gives immediate cash assistance to low- and middle-income households and expands unemployment insurance. Internationally, it provides funding for global disease detection and prevention, as well as growing international humanitarian needs.
Bread developed recommendations for CARES, many of which were incorporated into the final legislation. Bread will continue to advocate for the recommendations that did not make it in this round, including a 15 percent increase to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) maximum benefit. Congress must also address the needs of immigrant families, including many with children who are U.S. citizens.
“A significant increase for SNAP food assistance is needed to prevent a hunger crisis,” said Beckmann.
SNAP is vital to helping people receive the nutrition they need. Before COVID-19 hit, 37 million Americans struggled with hunger. This number will rise substantially in the coming weeks and months. SNAP also has a strong economic impact: every $1 increase in SNAP generates more than $1.50 in additional economic activity.
“Now is the time to heed God’s call to care for the ‘least among us’ (Matthew 25:40). CARES will help a lot of people,” added Beckmann. “But Congress must ensure that struggling families do not fall between the cracks – increasing SNAP benefits must be included in the next package.”
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.
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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is designed to respond to changes in need, making it well suited to respond to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bread for the World and its partners are asking Congress to provide $200 million for global nutrition in the fiscal year 2020 budget.
In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.