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Over $50 million in monthly Wisconsin federal food aid at stake

Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 12:43 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Over $50 million of Wisconsin federal food aid is hanging in the balance after the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the statewide mask mandate.

Since Wisconsin no longer has a state health declaration, it means emergency food assistance is off the table.

Feeding Wisconsin officials said the change will come with consequences.

“At that moment that I heard, it wasn’t a surprise, but it was unfortunate that it came so soon,” Stephanie Dorfman, Feeding Wisconsin executive director said.

Feeding Wisconsin fights hunger year round, but the battle became more challenging during the pandemic.

“We distributed more food than ever before,” Dorfman said.

The association distributed 79 million pounds of food to Wisconsin families in 2020. It’s a 62 percent increase from 2019.

“It’s disheartening that Wisconsin may be the first to lose these emergency allotments of Snap benefits. We definitely don’t want to be a leader on this front,” she said.

Individuals that qualify would normally get over $200 per month in food aid, but starting in May that payment would drop down to $16.

“Hunger is something that we shouldn’t have to worry about,” Dorfman said.

She said food banks are working around the clock to make sure people can feed their families.

“We have never run out of food before as a network and we plan not to do that anytime soon,” she said.

With less federal funding, Dorfman said more families may not know where their next meal is coming from.

“We are doing all that we can to source the food and funds that we need to make sure that every Wisconsinite has resources to put food on their table,” she said.

Feeding Wisconsin officials said there’s still time. If lawmakers reinstate a public health emergency, the state will be eligible for Snap benefits to help people in need.

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