Connecticut will release $19 million on Thursday to low-income residents who are eligible for Emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, known as SNAP benefits.
Robin Lamott Sparks is the executive director of End Hunger Connecticut. She said the state will get additional help from President Joe Biden’s new executive order to reduce food insecurity during the pandemic.
Sparks said the executive order would also help the restaurant industry provide jobs and feed the hungry.
“I thought all along that the restaurant industry is one where we can keep people working, keep them off of SNAP, keep the economy running and feed people at the same time,” Sparks said.
The executive order would direct FEMA to cover 100% of the cost to states and local governments for efforts to target hunger during the pandemic.
Restaurant owners in Connecticut say they can step up to provide meals to meet Biden’s executive order.
Scott Dolch is the executive director of Connecticut Restaurant Association.
“I think we can really come out of this with the partnerships better off than we were pre-pandemic in the relationships that are restaurants can play in this cog in this wheel overall to feed people in need,” Dolch said.
Dolch told U.S Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut that he has over 100 local restaurants and farms that want to be involved.
Blumenthal told groups that represent food banks and restaurants in Connecticut that he wants the eligibility of this program to be “sufficiently broad” to cover everyone that is in need and to have it done as fast as possible.
"No disrespect to FEMA because they have their own challenges, but we want to make sure that the executive order is implemented expeditiously and robustly. That's the challenge ahead," Blumenthal said.
Blumenthal said he wants Connecticut restaurants to use this opportunity to beef up. He said their efforts to retain employees and stay opened should be reimbursed by the federal government.