Kentucky to get more funds for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) to help more children
By Nadia Ramlagan
Public News Service
Kentucky will soon receive an extra $12.8 million per month for its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits program, and groups fighting hunger in the state say the increase will especially help feed more children.
Katrina Thompson, executive director of the group Feeding Kentucky, said since March of last year, the state has relied on loosened federal restrictions to provide extra SNAP benefits and expand food access to households with children who normally rely on school meals.
She explained the U.S. Department of Agriculture will give states additional funding through the end of September.
“So what this will do is, it’ll especially benefit Kentucky kids,” said Thompson, “as about 71% of the SNAP participants in Kentucky are families with children.”
Groups like Feeding America say they expect food insecurity to increase locally in every county and state this year – a combination of prolonged unemployment and permanent income loss from the pandemic.
Thompson said she also hopes Congress and the USDA continue the flexibility they’ve allowed in the SNAP program to help states feed those who have needed it most as the novel coronavirus spread across the nation.
“It’s really allowed for innovation from our schools, and from our summer meal providers,” said Thompson, “to be able to help feed these children.”
Thompson pointed out that nationwide, Black, Latino and Native American households are disproportionately affected by food insecurity. She said the extra resources give households a boost when they’ve faced barriers accessing food banks.
“We’ve only been able to feed as many Kentuckians as we have because of these programs being as flexible as they are,” said Thompson.
She added in the coming weeks, Kentucky households that have not received at least $95 per month in SNAP benefits – because they were already or nearly receiving the current maximum benefit – will now qualify to receive extra money for food.