Connecticut Commissioner of Agriculture Bryan Hurlburt says local food banks are competing for supplies the same way states were in a bidding war for medical equipment.
“Just like we saw with the PPE, each organization is trying to outbid the other for additional food, and that can’t be the solution.”
We depend on your support. Donate to Connecticut Public today.
Hurlburt was speaking on a conference call with U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, state food banks and nonprofits.
Blumenthal says just as the health care system needs a national tsar to coordinate the pandemic response, someone at the federal level should coordinate the food system.
“We need a kind of tsar in the food security area to make sure that all of these programs are coordinated and targeted at the places that are hot spots of hunger.”
He says he wants to make sure resources to ensure food security are included in the next federal stimulus package to address the COVID-19 crisis.
Meanwhile, nearly 100,000 households in Connecticut are set to receive emergency food assistance from the federal government this week.
The $15 million in benefits will go to nearly half the households in the state that participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP.
The federal government authorized the funds in March as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The act also provides up to 14 days of paid leave for workers affected by the pandemic.
The Connecticut Department of Social Services says people in the program will get an average of $150 on their EBT cards. The funds will be available May 8.