Letter: Increase SNAP benefits until this crisis passes

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To the editor:

I watch as the numbers of people attending the food bank down the block have increased over the past six months. With more than 40 million Americans unemployed while food prices are rising, people are being forced to choose between rent and groceries. And through my lens as a pediatrician, I see this problem affecting the next generation disproportionately.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) is our nation's first line of defense against hunger. And it helps our economy recover — every $1 in new SNAP spending creates $1.50 to $1.80 in economic activity.

There appears to be some bipartisan support in Congress to increase SNAP benefits during this crisis. But the White House is stalling. I urge Rep. Richard Neal, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, and President Donald Trump to resume COVID relief negotiations now and quickly pass legislation that increases the maximum SNAP benefit by 15 percent.

Leslye Heilig,

Great Barrington

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