Biden signs executive order to temporarily boost food assistance benefits

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Help is on the way for the 30 million Americans who said they didn’t have enough to eat last month. A new executive order from President Joe Biden will temporarily boost SNAP benefits. 

Community food network Harvesters said close to 400,000 people in the Kansas City region don’t know where their next meal is coming from. 

But thanks to the new executive order, people who qualify for SNAP benefits will get a 15% increase in benefits through June. The benefits will also be extended to other people who may not have qualified under the 2018 Farm Bill. 

For a one-person household, there would be a more than $200 increase while a family of four will see a more than $700 increase.

But some say with the growing price of food, this won’t be enough to cover everything. 

“I don’t really think it’s enough,” Twannya Averhart said. “If they got four people in a household, $700 is not going to be enough to feed those four people, babies, grown people. That’s not enough.” 

Others say they’re grateful for these benefits to help fill in the gap. 

“I would not want to get anything from the government, but I had to and because I’m getting it, I’m thankful,” Jonaice Walker said. “We all are financially strained right now, and anything that would increase SNAP benefits is a blessing to us all.”

Whether urban, suburban or rural, Jessica Kejr with Harvesters said there has been an increased need for food on both sides of the state line.  

“Now due to the pandemic, it’s projected an additional 85,000 people are in need, so that’s 1 in 7 people and 1 in 5 kids that don’t know where their next meal is coming from, which is pretty heartbreaking,” Kejr said. 

Harvesters helps supply local food banks and helps people apply for SNAP food benefits

“If we can help with food and access to these types of benefits through our SNAP outreach program, that will increase the food allowance for people all across the board. What that means for their budget is a huge boost for them,” Kejr said. 

The executive order will extend benefits until June, but in his American Rescue Plan proposal, Biden is asking Congress to extend the extra benefits even longer. People like Elizabeth Weber say she hopes it will happen. 

“This means actually maybe eating a decent meal,” Weber said. “We have been hurting for food just like so many other low-income families.” 

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