MAZON Celebrates USDA’s Historic Update to SNAP Benefits Following Decades of Advocacy

August 16, 2021

This morning, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack unveiled a series of reforms to the Thrifty Food Plan — the mechanism through which SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits are calculated — triggering the single-largest permanent increase in benefits in the program’s history. Today’s announcement follows years of advocacy from anti-hunger leaders like MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, who have been urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide greater benefits to Americans facing food insecurity. Revising and modernizing SNAP to fall more in line with the needs of the 42 million Americans who rely on the program is both remarkable and long-overdue.

In response to today’s announcement, Abby J. Leibman, MAZON’s President & CEO, issued the following statement:

“Again, we are struck by the leadership and vision of the Biden-Harris Administration, as it returns our government to putting people first. For decades, millions of Americans who depend on SNAP have struggled to reliably access an adequate, healthy diet — we know that for many families, their SNAP benefits run out by the second or third week of the month. Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic as millions of Americans relied on the temporary benefit boost passed by Congress, it became clear that re-evaluating SNAP benefits was essential if we are to ensure that all people facing hunger can access the nutritious food they need with dignity.

We at MAZON celebrate today’s historic announcement and the prompt, thoughtful, and bold action taken by the Biden-Harris Administration to bring SNAP benefits in closer alignment with the needs of the 80 million Americans currently at risk of food insecurity. This was an important step in fulfilling the bipartisan commitment made by Congress in the 2018 Farm Bill. Those who are faced with the indignity of hunger deserve compassion and basic nutritional support, not judgment and rebuke for their circumstances.

There is still much work to be done, however. Eradicating hunger is a moral imperative that can only be addressed through sound policy and vigilance. Expanding access to social safety net programs, destigmatizing government-sponsored assistance, and removing obstacles that prevent military families and other communities from accessing benefits are priorities that MAZON will continue to address until food insecurity is a relic of the past.”