Act Now to Prevent Hunger during COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic, food assistance programs are especially critical to protect individuals from hunger. Join us on Virtual Lobby Day to advocate for policies to strengthen federal nutrition programs and make sure all Illinoisans have food on the table. Send the message below to your Members of Congress. After you click submit, be sure to send another message to your Illinois General Assembly representatives.


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Dear [Decision Maker],

The public health and economic crisis created by COVID-19 has been especially severe for our community's most vulnerable populations, like, children, seniors, and the homeless. We are seeing the devastating effects of racial inequity as predominantly-minority communities in and around Chicago experience a greater share of COVID-19 cases. Immigrant households are both more likely to be engaged in hourly work that has been disrupted by the stay-at-home order and less likely to be eligible for public assistance like SNAP.

Many people are seeking food assistance for the first time in their lives and will need sustained assistance for a long time to come. Congress enacted important relief and stimulus legislation through the Families First Act and CARES Act, but we now understand that the public health and economic impacts of the pandemic will continue much longer. To ensure that state and local organizations are able to respond effectively to the increased need for food assistance and to make sure that those in need can access vital benefits, we urge that the following items be part of the next coronavirus response bill:

INCREASE SNAP BENEFITS BY 15 PERCENT AND INCREASE MINIMUM BENEFIT. While the Families First Act included an emergency increase for all SNAP participants, the increase was temporary and short-term. We now know economic need will be elevated for much longer. Increase the thrifty food plan by at least 15 percent and increase the minimum benefit from $16 to $30.

PROVIDE MAXIMUM FLEXIBILITY FOR ALL FEDERAL NUTRITION PROGRAMS THROUGH 2021. Federal nutrition programs need flexibility to operate in the pandemic. Demand is up, volunteers are down, and interactions between staff members and people needing food must be conducted safely to avoid the risk of COVID-19 transmission. USDA should be directed to continue providing regulatory flexibility for SNAP, WIC, child nutrition programs, and TEFAP through the end of 2021.

PROVIDE $500 MILLION FOR TEFAP. Food banks and pantries have seen a dramatic increase in need at the same time that supply chains have been disrupted. Provide $500 million for TEFAP food and $500 million for TEFAP storage and distribution.

Thank you for working to secure the resources and flexibility our community needs to ensure that no one goes hungry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]
[Your Email]