Food assistance increases across the state as COVID-19 spreads nationally

More help for seniors who need food

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The economic blow-back from the COVID-19 outbreak is leaving some Arizona families with less in the pantry and fridge. Gov. Doug Ducey made two announcements Wednesday to help seniors and those benefitting from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP).

“Nutrition is really essential to good health. There’s no doubt about that,” said Mark Clark, Pima Council on Aging president and chief executive officer.

Funds signed by President Donald Trump last week are headed to Arizona to help seniors get the nutrition they need. The state will get a little more than $5.3 million, as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, with two-thirds of that going toward supporting home meal delivery.

“It’s a lot of money,” Clark said.

He said Pima County will receive about $830,000 from those funds.

“That program is going to have a significant impact in our community,” Clark said.

OFficials with PCOA will use the funds over the course of the next few months to ramp up delivery levels and staff levels.

However, more people are in need. About 30,000 Arizonans applied for unemployment in that last week according to Arizona Department of Economic Security officials. With less change in their pockets, programs like SNAP and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) are in high demand for many Arizonans.

Ducey said asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture on March 25 to make it easier for more people to get benefits faster. If the new changes are approved, families could use benefits to buy hot meals from grocery stores and get the max amount allowed for up to two months. It could also waive work requirements for students and allow applications to go through without interviews.

To apply for Nutrition Assistance, Arizonans can visit www.healthearizonaplus.gov or call (855) 432-7587 Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information about Arizona Department of Economic Security services during the pandemic, please visit https://des.az.gov/services/coronavirus.

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