Saturday, July 31, 2021


Educators' unions call for efforts to ensure in-person learning keeps students, teachers, families, and staff safe; and an update on hate crimes by state.


Congress passes Capitol security funding; House Freedom Caucus members want Cheney, Kinzinger out of GOP conference; Schumer closes a deal to advance $3.5 trillion reconciliation package; and a new report says investor-owned utilities try to block rooftop solar.

Congress Stalls on SNAP Benefits as More NC Families Go Hungry


Thursday, October 29, 2020   

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- More North Carolina families are struggling to buy food, yet Congress continues to stall on another round of House-passed coronavirus relief that would provide $10 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Amy Cantrell, co-director of the community resource organization BeLoved Asheville, said as households continue to lose income and face the threat of contracting the coronavirus, increasing minimum monthly SNAP benefits from $16 to $30 would be a lifeline for many families who are stretched thin covering rent, utilities and medical bills.

"We talk about that we're really struggling with multiple pandemics at once," Cantrell asserted. "We have a poverty pandemic, we certainly have a racism pandemic, and on top of that are dealing with a health-care pandemic we've never seen before. Certainly it's exacerbated food insecurity."

Earlier this year, North Carolinians saw their SNAP benefits increase to the maximum available amount. However, those extra benefits are set to expire this month.

Nearly 200,000 residents signed up for SNAP benefits at the onset of the pandemic, a more than 15% increase.

Cantrell added many low-income families have never had to rely on a food pantry until now, and noted food banks are struggling to keep pace with demand.

"We have about two million people that have under 15 dollars an hour, about 15% of our working population," Cantrell explained. "So, you can imagine how then that's complicated by the pandemic."

Joel Berg CEO of Hunger Free America pointed out that although SNAP is a federal program, requirements can vary by state.

He contended it's critical North Carolina's lawmakers understand how effective SNAP can be for preventing food insecurity and injecting cash into local economies.

"So even though these are federal programs, there are differences," Berg stressed. "And it matters very much who your governor is and who your state Legislature is, whether you're taking the more progressive view of how these programs should be used or whether you're adopting the more restrictive view of how they should be used."

The USDA has extended Pandemic-EBT, which provides grocery money to help kids make up for the school meals they missed at the onset of the public health crisis, through September 2021.

Disclosure: Hunger Free America contributes to our fund for reporting on Hunger/Food/Nutrition. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
In addition to roof repairs and other home improvements to lower utility bills, a Michigan League for Public Policy report recommends expanding utility-shutoff protections to include households with young children. (Adobe Stock)


LANSING, Mich. - High utility costs are a major burden for Michigan's low-income residents, and a new study says they have an impact on their health…


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A new report shows an effort by investor-owned utilities in the Sunshine State to block the growth of rooftop solar. The …

Health and Wellness

By Troy Pierson / Broadcast version by Mary Schuermann reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration. As marijuana becomes more …

Across the United States, 46 states have laws allowing for harsher punishment for crimes based on bias. (Ludk/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

SALT LAKE CITY - With rising numbers of people targeted in hate crimes and related violence, a new report analyzes the hate-crime laws in each state…

Social Issues

BOSTON - Educators' unions are calling on the state to support their efforts to ensure in-person learning in the fall keeps students, teachers…

According to AARP Connecticut, 47% of family caregivers have had at least one financial setback, such as having less money for retirement or savings, or cutting back on their own healthcare spending. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

HARTFORD, Conn. - In Connecticut, more than 460,000 people care for close friends or family members who can't manage on their own - and their …

Social Issues

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Millions of Americans soon could find eviction notices on their front doors, but New Mexico renters will not be among them - as …

Health and Wellness

CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire advocates for affordable healthcare access want Congress to lower prescription costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021