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Anti-Hunger Advocates Push For Food Stamp Benefit Boost

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Anti-hunger advocates from around the country say Congress needs to boost Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – or food stamp – benefits in the next COVID-19 relief package.

They suggest increasing the maximum benefit and raising the minimum from $16 to $30 a month.

Emily Weikert Bryant is the executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, which works with food banks across the state. She said they’re under increased strain during the pandemic. And she said boosting SNAP benefits can make a much bigger difference.

“For every one meal that our members distribute, SNAP provides nine," Bryant said. "It’s an economic engine.”

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Haley Kottler works for Kansas Appleseed. She said boosting SNAP is vital because the situation for many families is likely about to get worse.

“With the uncertainty around school schedules and hybrid schedules making it impossible for working families to plan on a reliable, full-time work schedule,” Kottler said.

The latest Senate GOP relief proposal doesn’t include additional resources for SNAP.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.