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Good News for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Recipients

December 5, 2022

From the Office for Social Ministry

Governor Ige issued a fifth Emergency Proclamation related to SNAP benefits whereby recipients will receive an increase each month thanks to federal COVID Relief Funding. This additional emergency allocation has been extended thru the holidays till January 16, 2023. Based on the State of Hawaii’s application to the USDA requesting emergency allotment funding, 85,590 families totaling 159,725 individuals rely on SNAP (previously known as Food Stamps).

The State Department of Human Services’ Benefit, Employment and Support Services Division (BESSD) through its Processing Centers manages our SNAP program. Since COVID, they’ve processed a large number of new SNAP recipients. Households impacted by job loss or reduced wages suddenly found they qualified for supplemental food assistance due to the pandemic.

It’s possible another emergency order will be issued at the start of the new year under our state’s new administration. Hawaii, along with 26 other states are currently utilizing this funding source through a waiver granted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Our parish food ministries continue to work hard to keep hungry families fed throughout our communities. Many patrons of our pantries are recipients of SNAP so the additional food stamps should alleviate some of the pressure felt by ministry coordinators who sometimes worry about whether they will have sufficient food items to distribute. On rare occasions, our pantry volunteers have had the difficult task of sending people away empty handed. When was the last time you donated non-perishable food items to your parish pantry? Ask your food ministry coordinator what is needed; be it kid or kupuna friendly food or family size boxes of cereal or peanut butter. Providing necessities for our dear neighbor in need, especially those who are vulnerable is everyone’s kuleana, not just a few.

If you know someone who needs to apply or renew their SNAP benefits, go to https://pais-benefits.dhs.hawaii.gov/.