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USDA Announces SNAP Benefits To Go Up through September

Doug Emhoff, Food Bank of Iowa CEO, Congresswoman Axne, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Foodbank of Iowa
Doug Emhoff, Rep. Axne, and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack visited the Food Bank of Iowa on Monday, March 22, 2021.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says through the end of September, there will be a 15 percent increase in federal food assistance.

“It will provide additional help and assistance for struggling families,” Vilsack says. “To give you a sense of this, a family of four is going to receive under this extension and expansion about $102 each and every month for the next several months. Now that’s going to make a huge difference.”

The total increase in food stamp payments will be $3.5 billion. That boost in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP benefits) is financed from the recently approved pandemic relief package.

“This is really significant,” Vilsack says. “About for every dollar that’s invested in SNAP, you get a $1.50 return in the economy.”

Vilsack and Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, visited the Food Bank of Iowa Monday.

“Hunger is a real issue in this country,” Emhoff said. “I’ve already traveled to several food banks and other organizations both in D.C. and just last week in Nevada.”

Emhoff is scheduled to visit similar organizations in Omaha tomorrow and in St. Louis on Wednesday. Food Bank of Iowa officials introduced Emhoff to a small group of volunteers who work in urban and rural Iowa.

“During this pandemic when the need for food in the United States of America, when you wouldn’t think that would be an issue in this country, but it is, to do the work that you’ve done, day in and day out, I thank you,” Emhoff said.

Food insecurity in Iowa doubled at this time a year ago according to Food Bank of Iowa statistics. Democratic U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne was along for Monday’s Food Bank tour. She said the pandemic highlighted the need for more food processing and distribution on a regional basis.

“To allow us to be able to produce food closer to home and be able to process it there and bring it to market,” Axne said. “…Centralization of the market really has caused some problems for Iowa and in particular in our rural communities who’ve lost a lot of economic viability as a result of that.”

A spokesperson for the Republican National Committee said sending Emhoff and Vilsack to Des Moines cannot distract from the pork-barrel spending in the American Rescue Plan that has nothing to do with directly combatting COVID-19.