Prior to COVID-19, nearly 40 million people did not know where they would find their next meal. In the wake of the pandemic, that number has risen to over 60 million and is still climbing. So why haven’t Congress and the Trump administration moved heaven and earth to get SNAP to all those Americans who need it?
Thirty to 40 percent of individuals now visiting their local food banks have never been to one before, and demand for these local banks has soared to roughly seven or eight times higher than average. Most are not equipped to handle this influx.
On Wednesday, the Senate passed legislation that will provide paid sick and family leave for many Americans, as well as free coronavirus testing and strengthened unemployment insurance. In a rare showing of bipartisanship, the bill, known as the “Families First Act,” passed 90-8. It now heads to President Trump’s desk, who expressed support for the bill and is likely to sign.
To mitigate the vast impact of this public health crisis and stabilize our economy writ large, it is critically important to make significant and comprehensive public investments that will address the cumulative and interconnected needs of women and families. In particular, NWLC has four major priorities for the next package of proposals responding to COVID-19.
Domestic workers are being forced to navigate this crisis alone and without a safety net. Donations to the Coronavirus Care Fund will provide emergency assistance to nannies, house cleaners and home care workers who need help right now, giving them the stability they need to stay home and be a part of the solution to this crisis.
Many of us are stunned by the coronavirus outbreak, unsure exactly what to do or how to proceed. Should we stockpile food? Work remotely from the couch? Cancel weekend plans?
But what if you don’t have enough money to feed your family in the first place? What if you can’t afford not to show up for work? What if you work in the service industry, where you can’t just work remotely? What if your community is still struggling to recover from the last financial crisis, and you have been out of work for months or years? What if your children’s school closes and they don’t have access to their usual free or reduced-price meals?