Having a pantry full of canned goods and a fridge stocked with produce is one of the biggest blessings Shantommy Scott wakes up to each morning.
“I bought red meat, I bought white meat, I bought all kinds of meat they sold in the store,” he laughed as he reminisced on the foods he bought with his food stamps. “I went and bought canned goods that I never seen in my cabinet before, because I had the opportunity.”
Because of his tight income, Scott has received SNAP benefits for the last few years. As his budget became even tighter, he got some surprising news.
“They said that due to corona, you’re going to get an increase,” he explained. “How it really blessed me is how when I called and reapplied, they blessed me with $144 extra.”
He’s one of approximately 1.6 million Texans who qualify for the additional benefits.
It's a rise the United Way of Central Texas has seen this year just in the abundance of callers seeking guidance.
“I can’t break it down to say specifically how many more SNAP calls, but overall it’s more than double,” Veshell Greene, the vice president of resource development at the organization, said. “It’s more than doubled from 2019 to 2020. ”
She says United Way received about 46,000 calls to their help desk in 2019, but in 2020, the number of people to who dialed 211 went up to over 90,000.
On Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott announced the state would provide an additional nearly $300 million to the SNAP program for this month in response to the ongoing pandemic and to continue to help struggling Texans provide for themselves and their families.
”They hear that there’s a need, and they’re doing something about it,” Greene said. “It’s comforting knowing that the needs aren’t falling on deaf ear.”
”People just need to know when something good is taking place, and it’s nice to know that our governor cares,” Scott added.
Those who benefit from SNAP will continue to receive the 15% increase in their total benefits, which lasts until June 2021.