Food Bank of the Southern Tier Supports COVID-19 Increase in SNAP Benefits


ELMIRA, NY – Right now, many of our friends and neighbors across the Southern Tier are choosing between putting food on the table and paying bills, like rent and utilities. The Food Bank of the Southern Tier is proud to be working alongside other Feeding America member
food banks as part of the nation’s largest charitable domestic response to hunger. Yet, we know food banks cannot meet the need for emergency food assistance on their own.

The Food Bank of the Southern Tier is deeply relieved that the bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress on Dec. 21 includes an increase in benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as additional funding so we can continue to meet
the increased need we are seeing every day. As our country continues to weather a once-in-a-generation public health and economic emergency, the bipartisan agreement is an important step to help provide the food assistance our neighbors need, but further action will also be necessary in the coming months.

“The Food Bank of the Southern Tier and our network of 165 partner agencies continue to help fill the meal gap left by lost wages and record-breaking grocery prices in recent months,” said Natasha Thompson, President & CEO of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. “Through this work,
we know that our community is experiencing precedented levels of food insecurity. While our team has risen to this challenge, the fact is that SNAP is the most efficient way to both provide families with the funds they need to purchase food and support our local economy during what we anticipate will be a long recovery. For every meal the Food Bank provides, SNAP provides nine, and we strongly support the legislation’s increase in benefits.”

Additionally, the Food Bank supports the bill’s inclusion of $400 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) — one of the largest sources of food for food banks. This funding is critical as the Food Bank prepares for a scheduled 80 percent reduction in food received from the government while at the same time working to meet the 25 percent increase in demand
locally since the start of the pandemic.