Angelina Jolie Calls on Congress to Increase Food Stamp Benefits

US actress and UNHCR special envoy Angelina Jolie talks during a visit to a Syrian refugee camp in Azraq in northern Jordan, on September 9, 2016. / AFP / Khalil MAZRAAWI (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)

Actress Angelina Jolie is urging Congress to increase food stamp benefits in response to the coronavirus pandemic, adding that children are going “hungry in our country.”

The Academy Award-winning actress spoke to USA Today about the problems America faces amid government-enforced shutdowns and mass job loss. She insisted that increases in benefits in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are necessary to keep America fed during this harrowing time.

“Many of the most vulnerable children in America have missed nearly 740 million meals at school, due to closure resulting from the rapid spread of coronavirus. With parents facing lost jobs and wages, many of these children are going hungry,” Jolie wrote in a letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“While strengthening SNAP will not alleviate all of the challenges low-income families are facing during the public health emergency, it will help ensure that fewer children go to bed hungry in our country,” the former U.S. Goodwill Ambassador to the UN said.

Congress has already increased SNAP benefits by $15 billion in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but Jolie claims the federal government can do more.

Both chambers are still mulling another coronavirus relief package, and Democrats have already proposed even more increases for food assistance programs. So, it is likely that SNAP increases will again be addressed if such a bill comes to fruition.

It is estimated that 11.6 million American kids get at least one meal each day through their schools. But with the outbreak, many of these school programs have been shuttered as schools close to avoid the virus.

Jolie is working with the private charity, No Kid Hungry, a group that helps feed kids in schools — especially now that many government food programs are on hold due to the virus. The Maleficent star recently donated $1 million to the group to help it feed children as government agencies close down.

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