Gov. David Ige today signed an emergency proclamation that extends the availability of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits another two months.
The new emergency proclamation allows over $18 million in federal funds each month to continue to flow to SNAP recipients after the current proclamation related to the omicron variant of the coronavirus expires on Friday.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hawaii Food Bank estimates food insecurity in Hawaii has grown by more than 50%, representing the fourth highest percentage increase nationwide, the proclamation notes.
Nearly a quarter of a million Hawaii residents, including one in four keiki, are currently struggling with hunger.
Due to impacts of the pandemic, there has been a 36% increase since March 2020 in the number of families receiving food assistance through SNAP.
Families continue to struggle to provide food for themselves and their families due to the impacts of the pandemic, along with the recent jump in the cost of daily living due to inflation and the unprecedented hike in gas prices.
The new proclamation is “for the limited purpose of administering the available federal program” providing SNAP benefits to alleviate food insecurity in the state during the national public health emergency, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
It remains in effect through May 24, unless terminated sooner.