Project Bread Anticipates Participant Increase As UI Benefits End Friday

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Food insecurity has been on the rise since the pandemic started, and now with the extra 600 dollars in unemployment benefits ending Friday, it is expected to get even worse.

The latest stimulus bill in the senate not only cuts unemployment benefits, it also fails to extend the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Anti-hunger organizations are expecting an even bigger increase in the number of people wondering where their next meal is coming from.

According to Project Bread, prior to the pandemic, one in 11 households in Massachusetts was food insecure. Now that number is one in six, with one in five children not having access to enough food.

Jennifer Lemmerman is the Director of Governorment Affairs with Project Bread. She said senators on capital hill should hear the stories they listen to on a daily basis.

Lemmerman said calls to their food-source hotline have more than tripled since the start of the pandemic.

The Heroes Act passed by the house months ago includes money for SNAP, however the senate bill does not. The state’s supplemental budget does include money for organizations like Project Bread, and lawmakers just passed 'Breakfast After the Bell' which assists 150 thousand children. According to Lemmerman, that’s not enough.

"There's only so much the state can do, right? So we need congress to act," Lemmerman said.

WBZ NewsRadio's Suzanne Sausville (@wbzSausville) reports

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(Suzanne Sausville/WBZ NewsRadio)

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