Emergency food assistance benefits will continue in Minnesota | MCUTimes

Emergency food assistance benefits will continue in Minnesota

More than half a million Minnesotans will continue receiving emergency food assistance benefits despite the expiration of the state’s peacetime emergency, thanks to an agreement between state and federal officials.

Commissioners Jan Malcolm of the Department of Health and Jodi Harpstead of the Department of Human Services on Friday signed a joint disaster declaration, which will be submitted along with Minnesota’s application for Emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funding. More than 550,000 people in the state receive $45 million in monthly benefits.

The peacetime emergency ended July 1, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture is expected to approve an agreement preserving the funding for people who need help buying groceries.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the physical, emotional, and financial health of Minnesotans, putting their ability to pay for essentials like groceries at risk,” Gov. Tim Walz said in a statement. “We are committed to ensuring our neighbors are able to continue putting food on the table for their families as we recover from this public health crisis.”

Waltz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan announced in June that Minnesota had reached an agreement with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to continue emergency food assistance without interruption as the state’s COVID-19 peacetime emergency winds down.

“As we look toward recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that Minnesotans do not go hungry as they return to work, school, and play is foundational to health and continues to be essential work,” Flanagan said in a statement. “This agreement preserves our ability to keep food on the table for Minnesota’s children, families, and seniors.”

Since March 2020, Minnesota has received more than $547 million in increased food assistance going to about 234,000 households. For more information, visit the state’s COVID-19 emergency food support webpage. The Minnesota Food Helpline provides assistance at 1-888-711-1151.

Katy Read • 612-673-4583

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