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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Over 200 groups join Sen. Gillibrand in urging PR’s inclusion in SNAP

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

By The Star Staff

More than 200 groups, including the Puerto Rico Food Security Coalition and the Hispanic Federation, on Thursday joined U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in demanding that Puerto Rico be included in the SNAP food program.

“For more than 40 years, Puerto Rico has been unfairly excluded from SNAP, resulting in billions of dollars in lost aid and reduced nutritional benefits for more than one million Puerto Ricans,” said Gillibrand, who is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and seeks to include the legislation in this year’s Farm Bill, at a press conference.

More than 200 organizations signed a joint statement calling on Congress to approve Puerto Rico’s transition to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in 2023. The legislation would be included in the 2023 Farm Bill, providing island residents with equity in nutritional benefits offered in the territories of Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Currently, Puerto Rico receives a limited federal grant through the Nutrition Assistance Program (PAN by its Spanish acronym), hindering its ability to respond to needed changes. The PAN has no equivalent to Disaster-SNAP, so disasters or emergencies require new appropriations from Congress.

Lillian Rodriguez López, lead organizer for the Puerto Rico Food Security Coalition, said Congress is negotiating the Farm Bill and “should take this opportunity to end discrimination against U.S. citizens residing in Puerto Rico by granting them full participation in SNAP.”

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