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Clock is ticking for Congress to act on hunger

To the editor:

Kids in this nation are struggling to get enough to eat, including right here in New York. Congress has the opportunity to change that, but it must act now.

According to estimates, anywhere from 14 million to 17 million kids today aren’t getting the food they need because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s a stark contrast from 2019, when we saw food insecurity drop to some of the lowest rates on record — evidence that childhood hunger is solvable.

It’s still solvable, but only if Congress acts before Sept. 30.

There are nutrition programs that work together to help address this crisis — Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, school meals and Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, specifically. But these programs need urgent action. Schools need child nutrition waivers extended through the end of the academic year so they can plan and prepare their meal programs for kids in need. Pandemic EBT, which provides a benefit to replace some of those meals when school buildings are closed, must be extended to help families throughout the upcoming year. And SNAP benefits must be increased by 15% during this crisis — about $25 per person per month.

The clock is ticking to put our nation back on a path to end hunger. I’m calling on Rep. Stefanik and House Leaders Pelosi and McCarthy to stand up for kids.

Rachel Sabella

Westbury

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