ORLANDO, Fla. – Monday night’s deal reached in Congress for a new stimulus package will be showing some strong support for small business owners and for nonprofit organizations. One of those is the largest food bank in Florida.
Second Harvest Food Bank said if a deal had not been reached, it could have placed them in a shortage of food.
“We knew that there was gonna be an issue of where are we going to be, you know, Jan. 1, 2021?,” said Kelly Quintero, director of advocacy and government relations. “We’re very happy to see that Congress has taken that action to work with us to solve a little bit of hunger that’s happening here in Central Florida.”
Quintero said the new COVID-19 relief funding package avoids a food cliff into the new year.
“A lot of the programs that were approved in the last COVID response act were going to end on Dec. 31, and they still will end, we just weren’t sure what was gonna happen next,” she said.
Now the organization has regained their hope for a better year. Funding from the new round of COVID-19 relief will go toward small businesses, including minority-owned businesses, nonprofits, and food assistance programs to help them recover from the pandemic.
“Since middle of March, beginning of the pandemic, we’ve put out about 58 million meals -- just in the 9 months that we’ve been doing this. And that’s definitely a record-breaking nine months for us,” Quintero said. “In that package, there is some funding for food assistance programs, much like SNAP, which is formerly known as food stamps. Essentially, what happens in the bill is that they’ve allocated $13 billion for SNAP and other food assistance programs.”
According to the organization, the current bill would provide them funding through the SNAP federal food assistance program.
“The SNAP funding goes directly to the recipient, and then the other programs, the other food programs called TEFAP, the emergency food assistance programs or government food, we would receive some kind of funding through the state as pass-through money,” she said. “And so we’re able to use that funding to purchase food from across the country, and these are staple items like you and I have in our pantries right now.”
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida said they’re now on track to do about 90 million meals in their current fiscal year because of a higher demand for food.
The much-anticipated federal relief funding also includes $15 billions to help independent movie theaters, cultural institutions and live venues like the Amway Center and Camping World Stadium, which weren’t included in the first round of COVID-19 relief funding.
President Trump has yet to sign off on the new deal and called it a “disgrace” in a video he tweeted Tuesday night while calling on lawmakers to come up with a new one that would include larger direct payments to Americans.