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Gillibrand proposes extension to pandemic EBT benefits

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand visited Falconer on Friday morning to announce her intention to extend Pandemic EBT and expand SNAP benefits in the Senate as coronavirus relief package discussions in Congress continue. Photo by Cameron Hurst

FALCONER — U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, cited a need for children across the country not to go hungry amid the COVID-19 pandemic during a visit to the FeedMore WNY Distribution Center on Friday morning, announcing her intention to extend Pandemic EBT and expand Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits in Congress’ upper chamber.

Her comments and subsequent visit come as Congress continues to battle over a new COVID-19 relief package and unemployment benefits after the initial bill expired on July 31. It also comes amid decisions by local school districts to reopen schools after receiving the green light from Gov. Andrew Cuomo that students can return to school upon having their plan approved by the state department of health.

“There’s no question that families here in New York and across the country are truly struggling,” Gillibrand said. “Millions of people are out of work and costs are continuing to rise. Now the clock has run out on enhanced unemployment benefits and food assistance benefits and families have even fewer ways to make ends meet.”

She added, “Millions of families are unable to put food on the table. More than 29 million Americans didn’t get enough to eat last week. One-in-five parents don’t have enough food to feed their children including one million parents in New York. Food banks and networks like FeedMore WNY have been going above and beyond to help families keep food on the table, but they can’t do it alone. That’s why it’s critical that the next relief package prioritizes extending SNAP benefits and the Pandemic EBT benefits.”

“The House relief bill, the HEROS Act, would temporarily raise SNAP benefits by 15 percent,” she said. “That expansion must be included in the Senate’s package as well so that families can buy the groceries they need. As the school year approaches, we’ll also need to address how to cover more meals for the 22 million children who would typically be fed at school through a free or reduced-cost lunch.”

See more in the weekend edition of The Post-Journal.

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