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Gov. David Ige extends COVID-19 food assistance spending

February SNAP benefits were given out early during the partial federal government shutdown. Now many beneficiaries will run out before the next benefit, which is due in March.
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HONOLULU — Gov. David Ige has signed an emergency proclamation allowing federal funds to continue to flow to food assistance recipients during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic national public health emergency, his office said Thursday.

The proclamation allows $18 million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP benefits to go to recipients each month. Formerly known as food stamps, SNAP is the largest federal nutrition assistance program.

It will expire on May 24 or when the health emergency ends, whichever is sooner. The governor could also end it with a separate proclamation.

The number of people receiving SNAP benefits in Hawaiʻi jumped 36% during the pandemic.

The Hawaiʻi Food Bank says food insecurity has grown by 50% since the start of the pandemic, and a quarter of a million Hawaiʻi residents are struggling to put food on the table.

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