Shaheen Visits NH Mobile Food Pantry & Highlights Food & Nutrition Assistance included in American Rescue PlanMarch 19, 2021
Shaheen speaks to NHFB staff during her visit to the organization’s mobile food pantry this morning to highlight food and nutrition assistance included in the American Rescue Plan
(Manchester, NH) – This morning, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) visited the New Hampshire Food Bank’s mobile food pantry to highlight food and nutrition assistance included in the American Rescue Plan to help Granite State families struggling to put food on the table during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of this crisis, 1 in 11 men, women and children in the state are now food insecure, with 1 in 8 children living in a food insecure environment. The American Rescue Plan that Shaheen supported includes billions of dollars in support for food assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The relief package also contains provisions that increase funding and resources available for frontline organizations like the NH Food Bank.
During the event, Shaheen listened to New Hampshire Food Bank staff about the challenges they have faced while serving vulnerable Granite Staters during the pandemic. She also discussed the food and nutrition funding included in the American Rescue Plan and underscored the importance of assistance to nonprofits like the New Hampshire Food Bank that are helping to feed families in need.
“Food insecurity is a serious challenge in New Hampshire that has been exacerbated by this economic and public health crisis. Many Granite State working families are struggling to make ends meet and are forced to skip meals and go to bed hungry,” said Shaheen. “This is an alarming crisis that demands immediate action, which is why I worked to secure significant assistance during negotiations on the American Rescue Plan that will help ensure families can put food on the table and help organizations like the New Hampshire Food Bank continue their essential work on the frontlines of this crisis. I appreciated my conversation with New Hampshire Food Bank staff this morning and will keep fighting to ensure urgently needed relief reaches those who need it most.”
Senator Shaheen has fought to ensure vulnerable families are able to access the nutrition they need during this economic and public health crisis. The American Rescue Plan that Shaheen supported extends the current 15 percent increase to individual SNAP benefits through September, extends the Pandemic-EBT program for the duration of the public health emergency and provides $490 million to increase the amount of the cash-value voucher provided under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which is used to purchase fruits and vegetables, to as much as $35 during the pandemic. This voucher was previously just $9-11. The increased authority for both states and the department ends on Sept. 30, and participating states can apply the increase for as long as four months after opting in. The American Rescue Plan also provides an additional $390 million to increase participation in WIC through outreach and program modernization and provides an additional $750 million for senior nutrition services, including Meals on Wheels.
Previously, Shaheen successfully led bipartisan negotiations to provide $13 billion in nutrition assistance in the emergency COVID relief legislation that was passed by Congress and signed into law in December. This assistance included a 15 percent increase to individual SNAP benefits for six months, more than $1 billion in emergency funding for school and child care meal providers, an expansion of the Pandemic-EBT program to include families with young children, $400 million for food banks and $175 million for senior nutrition services, including Meals on Wheels. Shaheen has repeatedly led calls to strengthen nutrition assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure food provided to nonprofits and food banks through the USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program meets nutritional standards. Last May, she urged the USDA to expand SNAP participants’ access to the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot Program, and she has helped introduce legislation that would implement SNAP online purchasing.
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