Tester Continues Push to Ensure Montana Families Can Put Food on the Table

Senator urges Secretary Perdue to extend USDA’s critical food assistance programs

U.S. Senator Jon Tester is continuing his push to make sure Montana families are able to get enough to eat during the coronavirus crisis.

In a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue, Tester wrote that Montana needs more flexibility to ensure schools, food banks, and other organizations can continue providing critical assistance to families struggling to make ends meet.

“Montana families have to be able to continue putting food on the table during this pandemic,” Tester said. “I am going to keep the pressure on so we can cut this red tape and expand these vital food assistance programs so folks across our state can rest assured knowing they will be able to get enough to eat as we weather this public health crisis together.”

Tester urged Perdue to allow schools to provide meals for students using the Summer Food Service Program, rather than the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs for the coming school year, and to approve emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) allotments for families and individuals.

Tester also asked Perdue to extend waivers to suspend time limits on certain food assistance programs, and sought an extension of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) physical presence waiver so that at-risk mothers and infants can avoid in-person visits for nutrition counseling and assistance while the public health threat remains.

“I appreciate your time and consideration of these requests,” Tester’s letter concluded. “Your swift action will protect vulnerable Montanans from hunger, and provide much-need stability during COVID-19. I look forward to working with you on these important issues.”

Tester has worked tirelessly to make sure Montana families are able to put food on the table during this public health crisis. He successfully pushed USDA to disburse $38 million in Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) purchasing funds to help Tribal communities combat food insecurity, and he secured $1.2 million for Montana food banks to provide low-income and elderly populations with access to nutrition assistance.

Tester’s full letter is available HERE.