Pandemic-related increases to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program have been extended with Gov. David Ige’s signing of a second emergency proclamation on Tuesday.

The increased benefits will continue until July 22, having pumped an additional $18 million into Hawaii’s 180,000 SNAP participants’ pockets in April.

Emergency allotments administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture were set forth by President Joe Biden in January 2021 in response to pandemic-related food security issues.

Ige’s signing of the emergency proclamation extends Hawaii SNAP participants’ eligibility for the increased stipend, which is provided to individuals and families with additional funds to purchase food items in certain retail stores.

Ige said families around Hawaii were still struggling with food insecurity because of the pandemic, which is compounded by Hawaii’s high cost of living.

“Without additional support from SNAP, families may not be able to adequately feed their families. This food insecurity poses a threat to the health, safety and welfare of our communities and constitutes this emergency declaration,” Ige said in a press release.

SNAP customers across Hawaii are also eligible for Da Bux program, which allows them to use federally provided dollars to purchase locally grown produce with a 50% discount.

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