SNAP program an underutilized tool in the fight against hunger
According to Feeding America, the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the nation, for every meal it provides, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as “food stamps”) provides nine. It works to offset the cost of groceries, reducing reliance on food pantries and meal programs. It’s an important tool in the fight against hunger – but it’s underutilized.
The “SNAP gap” in Massachusetts – the number of people potentially eligible for SNAP benefits but not using them – is projected to be over 700,000 people owing to uncertainties about what SNAP is and who’s eligible. Advocates are intensifying their efforts to connect more people to the program, including by advancing legislation around a common application for SNAP and Mass. Health.
Said Lovin’ Spoonfuls’ COO, Lauren Palumbo, “The Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance reported a 19% increase in SNAP enrollments over pre-pandemic figures last year. However, with so many more people facing food insecurity across the Commonwealth, the gap is even wider now. For any of us who care about hunger, even as we’re feeling hopeful about efforts to expand SNAP coverage at the federal level, we’re sounding the alarm and spreading the word: There are more people who could use this resource.”
Palumbo acknowledged that, for too many, SNAP benefits alone won’t be enough. “Our non-profit partners – the pantries, meal programs, and shelters we work with – will be facing significantly greater volume for a long time to come. The pandemic has hit people hard. We’ll keep working together to ensure that the immediate need for fresh healthy food is met while working continuously on issues of food access. SNAP helps people eat better and healthier. We want people to know that.”
If you or someone you know needs help finding food, or to learn more about SNAP, visit: projectbread.org/get-help.