New funding, relaxed rules to keep people safe and fed
A lot is happening on the hunger front of the coronavirus crisis. Below is a quick summary, along with info about a new grant source to help communities feed children, families, seniors and others.
For the more information and links to additional sources, please visit our updated coronavirus & hunger web page.
SNAP benefits boosted
Included in the $2 trillion aid package, signed March 27, was an increase for SNAP benefits. New Jersey's share is $70 million, which will provide additional cash benefits to 205,000 households. These funds bridge the difference between what a family receives and the maximum amount allowed for each size household.
The first month of increased benefits were automatically loaded on recipients EBT debit card on Sunday, March 29. The increase will be provided again in April payments. Recipients can check balances at NJFamiliesFirst.com or go some ATMs.
More Federal Funds for Food
In addition to the increase in SNAP benefits, federal measures will provide an additional $400 million to The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which provides USDA-purchased food to state agencies for distribution through food banks and local organizations. The newly-approved federal stimulus package also sets aside $500 million for pregnant women and mothers under the WIC program.
Feds relax more rules
The USDA is adding to the list of waived rules for federal food programs to make it safer and easier for people to apply for and continue receiving assistance. This includes SNAP benefit extensions, allowing flexibility in food choices for WIC recipients and several provisions to make it easier for schools districts to feed kids during closures.
Grants available for community organizations
Nourishing Neighbors (formerly known as Hunger Is), a program of Albertsons Companies Foundation, has established a fund to help local families impacted by the current crisis. Funds will be used to support organizations in their effort to provide meals to school children, seniors, and others financially impacted or isolated individuals during this time.
Applications can be made for up to $10,000 and will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Applicants can expect a response within three weeks of submission. For more information, contact Anjana Bhattarai, program officer, Albertsons Companies Foundation, Anjana.Bhattarai@albertsons.com.
Changing policy and practice to ensure all New Jerseyans have healthy food, every single day.