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Government/Politics

Foodbanks Say Help Is Urgently Needed Because Of Coronavirus

Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Food Banks (right), checks out the produce while she talks with employees at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank in Grove City, just south of Columbus
Karen Kasler
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Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Food Banks (right), checks out the produce while she talks with employees at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank in Grove City, just south of Columbus

Congress is considering a bill that would make it easier for low-income people to get emergency food assistance during the COVID-19 outbreak. And advocates for foodbanks are requesting the state and communities make some changes too.

Lisa Hamler-Fugitt with the Ohio Association of Foodbanks says the state needs to waive work requirements for the food stamp program and allow more flexible rules for operation. She says many children rely on schools for food and if they close, families are going to need more food assistance. When it comes to distributing food, she says many senior citizens who have been steadfast volunteers are not going to be able to do that.

“We’re going to need a new volunteer pool as companies, organizations and large volunteer groups who normally are our strong supporters are just canceling those events in masse which we are really worried about. We are also going to be reaching out to see if we can get assistance from the national guard," Hamler-Fugitt says.

Hamler-Fugitt says unemployment compensation needs to be extended so low-income people who are out of work due to coronavirus concerns and wouldn’t ordinarily qualify for those funds would be able to get them. 

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