The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

Need for 15% Increase in SNAP Benefits during the Twin Health & Economic Crises

Posted on April 30, 2020 at 01:59 PM

As we deal with the twin crises in the fields of health care and the economy, the Delta Caucus urges all our partners to support a 15% increase in SNAP nutrition benefits as we respond to the worst hunger crisis America has faced in modern times. SNAP also has a strong economic stimulus because the funds are spent very quickly.

As the region ranking at the bottom in food insecurity, this crisis is especially acute in the 8-state Greater Delta Region. Nationally, adult hunger is 2.5 times worse than it was before the crisis, and child hunger is a shocking 5 times worse as we confront what is called “the gravest hunger crisis in modern times” by CEO Joel Berg of Hunger Free America. The Delta chronically suffers worse than the rest of the country.

Please contact your members of the US House and Senate and ask for a 15% increase in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) funding, which is a modest but essential increase in average SNAP benefits from the current $1.34 to $1.54 per meal. There is also an urgent need to increase the minimum monthly benefit from the current $16 to $30.

The need for SNAP has never been greater. For example, the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance reports that in the first 10 days of April, almost 20,000 new SNAP applications were received—as many as the entire month of February. The figures will only get far worse next month.

All research demonstrates that in addition to fighting hunger SNAP is also one of the strongest tools in our economic stimulus arsenal: the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) reports that during the 2009-13 Great Recession the SNAP benefit increase of that period resulted in economic benefits of from $1.50 to $1.80 for each dollar of the larger SNAP benefits, as the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance has pointed out in its current advocacy work.

SNAP spending has a multiplier impact throughout the economy, when businesses supplying the food and other goods as well as their employees have additional money to make their own purchases.

One of the most effective and fastest ways to fight the hunger, health and economic crises is to increase SNAP and other federal nutrition programs like WIC (Women, Infants and Children nutrition program).

More recent research from USDA Economic Research shows an even larger multiplier impact of up to $2 dollars in new economic activity for every dollar distributed. USDA’s research indicates that a $1 billion dollar increase in SNAP benefits in a recession increases Gross Domestic Product by $1.54 billion, supports 13,650 new jobs, and generates $32 million in farm income.

The SNAP program has consistently received strong bipartisan support in Congress, and public opinion polls have also consistently shown support for the nutrition program by two thirds or more of those polled.

(NOTE: The Delta Caucus has a new policy of requesting that for any contact you make to the powers that be in Congress or elsewhere, please send a super-brief email to Lee Powell’s Delta Caucus email address at just saying

“Called Sen. Or Rep. X to emphasize the great importance of SNAP.”

This is to have a ballpark estimate of how many people acted on our advocacy request.

Obviously, those who have lobbying or other restrictions will confine this to a strictly informational/factual statement of the general benefits of the SNAP program to the Delta Region, whereas people who don’t have these restrictions can make a full, direct pitch for SNAP expansion in the spirit of the First Amendment’s protection of the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.”)

Needless to say, we need a moratorium on proposals for harmful rule-making that would reduce SNAP benefits during the twin health and economic crises.

Poverty and malnutrition make the Covid-19 crisis even worse: Scientific evidence has long shown that malnourished people are more likely to get and spread diseases like Covid-19. Older people or those with underlying conditions who are malnourished are more likely to require hospitalization, further increasing the spread of the virus.

The twin crises also feed on each other because families who have lost jobs, income or have higher health care costs are more likely to go hungry.

For more resources about ways to address this crisis, contact the USDA Hunger Hotline operated by Hunger Free America at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (for English) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (for Spanish).

Another great resource is the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance at 1-833-762-7275.

Food banks across the region are reporting serious stress from the pandemic: Please go to their websites to the link for making donations and contribute any amount. Every small contribution adds up.

Government nutrition programs are much larger than the food charities, of course, having provided at least 11 times the dollar amount of food in 2019 than the all the charities combined. Nonetheless, food banks can help fill in some of the gaps for hungry people, and food bank officials tell us that financial donations are the best way to help in the crisis and they do not involve any risk of spreading the virus.

If you want to do something RIGHT NOW to help those suffering from the pandemic’s economic and health impacts, go to one of these food bank websites and contribute on their Donation link today.

Every $1 contribution provides at least 5 healthy meals or more through the Feeding America network, so $50 = 250 meals, etc.

Food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens, and food rescue organizations can help and your Feeding America food bank network in the Delta aids them.

For contact information on food banks across the 8-state Greater Delta Region who are in touch with a network of food organizations all across the region, see the Delta Caucus website at under “Caucus Articles” and go to the March 23, 2020 article, “Delta’s Vulnerability to Health & Economic Crises; and Request to Aid Your Local Food Bank.”

At the bottom of that article there are phone numbers and websites for the 13 Feeding America food banks that cover the Greater Mississippi Delta Region. They can get you in touch with smaller food pantries and other anti-hunger entities in your local area.