The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called food stamps) is a vital part of the hunger-relief system that can provide five meals for every one provided by the emergency food network in our state.
The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) is a SNAP outreach provider that assists people trying to access this government program, as it is another way we can help reduce the amount of people who are food insecure.
Because of the historic rise in unemployment due to the COVID-19 crisis and the increase in people seeking assistance, GBFB has dedicated more staff and resources to this critical work.
“This program provides direct support to people who can’t afford enough food. It’s a vital program under normal circumstances, but is even more necessary in a crisis,” said Christa Mayfield, GBFB manager of federal food programs.
The weekly number of SNAP client calls, SNAP referrals and applications completed by GBFB staff has tripled since the start of this crisis in mid-March, compared to the same amount of time in January and February. Most clients are telling GBFB that they’ve recently lost their jobs and they’ve never had to apply for assistance before.
In April, GBFB submitted 141 SNAP applications, more than double our highest previous month. Based on Feeding America’s SNAP calculator, that represents an estimated 100,000 meals provided to those in need.