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Behind the Numbers, Underscoring our Commitment to Serve

Recently, we shared a few research-driven insights into the scope of the ongoing pandemic, and its impact on the need for federal nutritional assistance services.

In the last quarter of 2021, it’s important to acknowledge that the need for federal nutritional support remains high, as families and communities across the nation continue to struggle with the ongoing public health and economic fallout from the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Even national publishers, such as USA Today, have acknowledged ongoing needs across the nation. As reported, we find that Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) use typically follows the overall health of the economy. And as we reported in September, the number of individuals receiving Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits has more than doubled in the 25 states we serve, from 5 million in August 2020, to approximately 10.4 million recipients in August 2021.

Clearly, although our nation’s economic recovery appears strong, adding jobs and reducing unemployment, many families and individuals still rely on some form of food assistance support.

Key indicators include:

  • The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported in July, approximately a tenth of the global population, or up to 811 million people, were undernourished in 2020, as hunger worsened primarily due to the fallout from COVID-19.
  • At the same time, here in the U.S., the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, Feeding America, has projected that 42 million people, including 13 million children (1 in 6), may experience food insecurity in 2021.
  • And the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services reported in September that more than 14.5 million U.S. P-EBT recipients received nearly $4.9 billion between January and June of this year.

Behind the statistics and our own internal measurements, is our strong, enduring commitment to supporting health and human services (HHS) agencies, along with the families and communities they serve. The P-EBT program, part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, enabled states to provide additional food aid to families missing out on free or reduced-price school meals due to school closures. As pandemic-related federally expanded SNAP benefits wane, our commitment will remain intact, regardless how social services requirements evolve in the months and years ahead. Due to a recent USDA FNS re-evaluation of food costs, for example, most SNAP households are likely to see a modest increase in SNAP benefits of roughly $12 to $16 per person per month, starting in October. 

No matter what the future holds from emerging White House and congressional budget initiatives, our team is proud of the important role we play in helping state agencies assist those in need. And we remain committed to supporting the work state agencies do to deliver payments to families and individuals who need it most, securely, accurately and on time.

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