A. SEATTLE — Washington state officials have warned that the state may soon experience a food shortage as a result of the imminent termination of federal stimulus funds for the state’s Snap benefits program.
The Washington state legislature has introduced House Bill 1784 to mitigate the effects of the loss of federal funds.
Brain Clark has been receiving food stamps for over 10 years, despite the fact that he never expected to require them.
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Clark, who was born and raised in King County, Washington, remarked, “I always had a job and provided for myself.”
But Clark claims he was injured in a violent crime, rendering him unable to work and requiring him to rely on disability payments and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (the former name for food stamps).
For the past two years, Clark has been receiving more money for food than usual every month thanks to emergency allotments granted to SNAP recipients in the event of a pandemic.
Before this raise, he claimed he was unable to afford food and had to rely on his disability check to get by.
I’ve been able to eat three square meals a day without any problems for the previous two years,” Clark stated.
More than 520 thousand families in Washington receive help feeding themselves. During the pandemic, the government has been providing an extra $171 to each household every month as an emergency allocation.
However, there will be no more of that extra cash after this month. Not only will Clark see a reduction in his food assistance of over 50%, but others will see much more severe cuts.
As of the beginning of next month, businesses like Northwest Harvest’s Sodo Community Market should expect an increase in foot traffic as a result of the unexpected difficulty.
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Executive Director of Northwest Harvest Thomas Reynolds described the end of February as “something like a hunger cliff” due to the impending termination of federal money for emergency allotments and the present high food prices.
According to Reynolds, this occurs at a time when hunger relief organizations are already struggling to meet rising demand with limited resources.
According to him, Northwest Harvest’s stock is currently 80% lower than it was a year ago.
This is because of a confluence of factors, such as price increases and disruptions in the supply chain. More than 400 food banks in the state of Washington get food from Northwest Harvest.
Depending on the food bank, “food banks are reporting to us that they are seeing between 30% and 100% more people engaging in their food programs,” said Reynolds.
Reynolds is rooting for the passage of House Bill 1784 in the Washington state legislature.
Democratic Representative Mia Gregerson of King County remarked, “The pandemic may be finished for many, but it’s clearly not for a lot of our families.”
Despite Gregerson’s assertion that the next budget cycle won’t begin until July, the state agencies that help fund food programs will receive $28 million two months early thanks to this early action bill. The intention is to help families cope with the monthly loss of emergency federal funding.
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To put it simply, we simply cannot wait. In case you didn’t know, the average human being gets hungry every three hours. Gregerson emphasized the importance of preventing human suffering.
On Thursday afternoon in Olympia, the House Appropriations Committee will hold an Executive Session to debate the bill.