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Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World today celebrated the House of Representatives passage of the HEROES Act, which provides additional assistance for the millions of Americans who are experiencing hardship due to COVID-19. The Senate will introduce its own relief package in the coming weeks.
“Bread for the World thanks the House leadership for passage of the HEROES Act,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “We are especially grateful the act increases SNAP benefits and blocks rules that would push millions of people off the program. Increasing SNAP benefits will help families put food on the table. We hope the Senate will include these provisions in their legislation.”
A new study by the Brookings Institute found that since the onset of COVID-19 in the U.S., household food insecurity has doubled, and childhood food insecurity quadrupled. The child hunger rate is three times higher than it was during the Great Recession.
The legislation includes a 15 percent increase to the maximum monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit and increases the minimum benefit to $30. The act also blocks three administrative rules that would prevent millions of people from receiving SNAP benefits.
Bread also supports provisions in the act that help reduce vulnerable jail and prison populations and ensures everyone has access to free COVID-19 testing and treatment regardless of their immigration status.
Bread is concerned the HEROES Act does not fund international humanitarian aid. The World Food Program warns the number of people facing extreme hunger could double by the end of the year without immediate help. Bread urges the Senate to include $12 billion for humanitarian assistance in their relief package.
“God calls on us to help those in need. The U.S. must do more to stop this catastrophe,” said Beckmann. “An investment of $12 billion for international assistance will make an incredible difference across the world and save countless lives.”
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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.