Charlie Crist calls for early release of benefits to support low-income families during coronavirus crisis

Floridians are being told to stay home, but some can't afford to stock up.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis asking him to release Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits early as low-income and vulnerable Floridians take the necessary steps to shelter in place during the coronavirus pandemic, also known as COVID-19.

SNAP is the program for low income residents to obtain food assistance. Crist wants SNAP recipients to have access to their April benefits now so they can stock up on enough food to limit necessary trips to the grocery store.

“To combat the spread of coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control has requested that individuals practice social distancing, limiting their contact with others. However, most recipients of SNAP benefits do not have the resources needed to live at home for an extended period, living hand to mouth on monthly payments to purchase the food that they need to feed themselves and their families,” Crist wrote.

People who have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 or who are experiencing symptoms are encouraged to stay at home in self-quarantine for at least 14-days. But doing that requires having enough supplies on-hand to eliminate the need for leaving home.

“The COVID-19 global pandemic has left many Floridians without a steady stream of income placing great stress on those in need. In response to these growing demands, and the potential requirement for some SNAP recipients to need to self-quarantine for 14 days or more, I urge you to offer the early release of next month’s SNAP benefits, effective immediately,” Crist wrote.

He points out that Florida has made SNAP benefits available ahead of schedule before, most recently during Hurricane Dorian so recipients could stock up on food to weather the storm.

Crist has been leading efforts to increase government response to COVID-19 including by sending a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention asking for increased transparency; another to President Donald Trump asking him to appoint a Coronavirus Czar and to the Food and Drug Administration and CDC to work to improve, expand, and expedite coronavirus testing.

He also pushed for the Department of Health and Human Services to use its emergency authority to support drive-thru testing for the coronavirus.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


  • Dalphine Clack

    March 25, 2020 at 8:08 pm

    God Blessed His People With One Fish and One Bread and Fed A Multitude – Amen

    • Orson OWelles

      March 29, 2020 at 6:00 pm

      Thanks, Dalphine. All of that bread & fish is really coming our way in this global pandemic. Why aren’t y’all going on about the rapture yet? Isn’t the Muslim, Buddhist, & Jewish religions dying a horrible viral death the way the Good Christian Book preaches part of the 2nd cumming of Christ?

    • Rev William

      April 4, 2020 at 12:01 pm

      Two fish and five loaves, but yes.

  • Sandy Oestreich

    March 25, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    GREAT THAT WE HAVE FRIEND CHARLIE CRIST TO BRING REASON TO THE PEOPLE. We understand that De Santis is rightly concerned and trying to balance SUPPORT FOR THE PEOPLE vs SUPPORT FOR INDUSTRY.

  • Patricia Lamp

    March 27, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    If we have to stay home , kids out of school having to supply extra food and no car why cant we have foodstamps early to provide for our family


    March 28, 2020 at 10:23 am

    With living on a small disability check every month all I get is 16.00 a month for food stamps. So after paying rent , utilities my check is almost gone. Then I have specialist I see every month so that’s a 40.00 co pay now I have to decide every month if I will go to my appointment or cancel so I can have a little more food. I am also diabetic so 16.00 a month isn’t much at all. Other families affected by this virus that have no job now because they were laid off needs to be expedited for SNAP benefits. Bless you all.

    • Joe

      April 2, 2020 at 8:39 pm

      We need it right now .please. The Florida gov. Is so slow .

  • Britney

    April 3, 2020 at 9:03 am

    I’m a single mother of 4 and this is a really hard time for all households like mine. The kids are out of school so their eating all meals at home instead of when they were eating breakfast and lunch at school which helped stretch out food stamps. Now I’m out of food out of stamps and they’re still dragging their feet about releasing them early. We can’t go to food banks because I don’t have a car so thing’s are just terrible please mr.crist get your people some help now not later.

Comments are closed.


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