COVID-19

Rising food prices make it harder for families on assistance programs to get by

Jasmine Garsd Aug 12, 2020
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One food bank network director says that even during good times, "the SNAP subsidy is often not sufficient." Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
COVID-19

Rising food prices make it harder for families on assistance programs to get by

Jasmine Garsd Aug 12, 2020
Heard on:
One food bank network director says that even during good times, "the SNAP subsidy is often not sufficient." Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The consumer price index out Wednesday tells us more about how much people were paying for goods in July. It’s up 0.6%, with gasoline driving things. The cost of food that we buy to eat at home was up more than 4% from a year ago in July.

For a growing number of Americans who depend on food assistance programs, the rising cost of food is straining how much they can buy.

“A couple of months ago, we saw the largest single-month increase in food prices that we’ve seen in the last 50 years,” said Diane Schanzenbach, an economist at Northwestern University.

This is at a time when millions of Americans are unemployed, and 43 million people are signed up for the food assistance program, SNAP. Schanzenbach says that during the pandemic, more families have been able to get the maximum benefit, which works out to about $40 per person per week.

Robin Safley, executive director of Feeding Florida, the state’s food bank network, says that with rising prices that’s not enough.

“So even during good times, when things are normal, the SNAP subsidy is often not sufficient,” Safley said. “So it’s only been compounded now.”

And she says, for food banks, it’s also getting more expensive to buy food staples for people in need.

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