Food insecurity still a problem as pandemic nears one-year mark

A new report shows more than 19% of Michiganders don't have enough to eat and policies aren't keeping up with needs.

The economic effects of the pandemic have devastated many people in Michigan. With layoffs, business closures, and a tight job market, many people have found themselves in a situation where they just can’t afford basic necessities like food.

According to the group Feeding America, 19.1% of Michiganders faced food insecurity in October of last year. And that problem hasn’t gone away in the new year.

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Health advocates are urging federal and state officials to take action to help out struggling families by increasing funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

“We are calling on Congress to increase SNAP benefits by 20% from the pre-pandemic levels to enhance anti-hunger and anti-poverty levels,” said Jamie Bussell, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, according to an article on WWMT.

Some assistance has happened. In December, Congress voted to increase SNAP benefits by 15% through June of this year. However, that only provides about $28 per person per month – hardly enough for healthy meals every day.

Food banks like Kalamazoo’s Loaves and Fishes have been left picking up the slack.

“We continue to see new families and people who come to us and say, ‘We never thought we were going to be in this position and don’t really have any idea about how to go about getting assistance,'” said Resource Development Director Greta Faworski.

Loaves and Fishes has said they’re serving 1,200 more families in the past year than in previous years. The problem isn’t going away and people need help.

You can read more here.

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