The food assistance systems that serve Indianapolis are broad and complex. Most of the food comes from federal nutrition programs administered by the State, providing in total 75% of all food assistance. Advocacy for these programs is essential to ensuring that our government plays its part, efficiently and effectively.
In 2019, Indy Hunger Network staff and partners worked closely with Bread for the World to encourage our members of Congress to co-sponsor House and Senate resolutions on global nutrition to fight hunger and malnutrition around the world. Both of our Indiana senators (Sens. Young and Braun) and 8 of our 9 representatives signed on as co-sponsors. In January 2020, the U.S. Senate passed S.Res.260, the Global Nutrition Resolution, which strengthens our nation’s commitment to nutrition for mothers and children. The resolution passed with support from both of Indiana’s senators.
In previous years, we’ve worked with partners to support an increase in the asset limit for SNAP eligibility in Indiana and a removal of the lifetime ban on drug felons from receiving SNAP, which went into effect on January 1, 2020. Both of these changes have helped more people access SNAP to help feed their families.
CURRENT ADVOCACY NEEDS
The coronavirus pandemic has created an increased need for anti-hunger advocacy in order to address the growing demand for food assistance. With our partners, we are asking Congress to respond to this crisis by increasing SNAP Benefits by at least 15 percent; expanding Pandemic-Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) so school children have meals provided, whether their classes convene online or in-person; and providing $20 billion in global relief for the pandemic.
Apart from COVID-19 response, there is an ongoing need to protect and strengthen federal nutrition programs. The Indy Hunger Network supports policies that increase the number of people who can access SNAP, WIC, free and reduced-price school lunch, and other federal nutrition programs, through reducing restrictions on participation, simplifying application processes, and increasing benefit amounts to ensure that no one in our community goes hungry.