Letter: Making sure families have access to fresh, nutritious food

To the editor:

Congress recently ended the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Emergency Allotments that have kept about 1.5 million Ohioans – 64% of which are families with children – afloat for nearly three years. While these boosts to the standard benefit levels were never intended to be permanent, they have been a crucial lifeline for families. Now that they’re gone, the average SNAP benefit per household is $186 per month. Meanwhile, the USDA estimates a family of four on a thrifty budget can expect to pay roughly $977.70 for groceries per month.

SNAP is the nation’s largest federal nutrition program – one study estimated the additional SNAP benefits reduced child poverty by 14%. With prices for everything increasing, this loss means that families will be forced to make more difficult decisions and more kids will likely go to school on an empty stomach.

As our children work to make up for the learning loss and mental health impacts of the pandemic, they need to have healthy food to support their growing brains and bodies. That is why we are calling on the Ohio General Assembly to support our request to include $50 million per year over the FY 2024-2025 biennium. This money will help ensure our most vulnerable families have access to fresh and nutritious food.

Lisa Hamler-Fugitt

Executive director of Ohio Association of Foodbanks