By Sandra Horob | Minot, N.D.
I am the newly appointed public policy coordinator for the North Dakota Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I have been a registered dietitian nutritionist for over 40 years and worked in many health-related settings. I have witnessed food insecurity within our state. I have worked with food distribution programs and have seen benefits for recipients and their families. In our community, school lunches continue to be provided, even though schools are closed. Local churches provide meals most days of the week. Food insecurity exists.
Add rising unemployment and widespread uncertainties about the future, and the pandemic has only made the situation worse.
The House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act, which includes a 15 percent increase in the maximum SNAP benefit and an increase to the minimum benefit allotment, from $16 to $30 a month. The HEROES Act also included much-needed flexibility to allow SNAP Nutrition Education (SNAP-Ed) providers to assist with food distribution efforts in schools and charitable food outlets like food banks and food pantries. SNAP-Ed also provides critical nutrition education, helping SNAP participants make healthy choices with a limited budget.
I encourage the Senate to strengthen and improve SNAP by further investing in our country’s most important food safety net program.