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Column: COVID-19 pandemic causes surge in food insecurity. Any relief bill should boost SNAP payments.

“The distributions are happening in cold, wet weather, and the fact that people are lined up for blocks and blocks tells you how great the need is,” said Kate Maehr, executive director of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which supplies food to more than 700 pantries, shelters and soup kitchens. “We had people who were struggling before the pandemic, and one of the really tragic truths we’ve seen is that this crisis has been born disproportionately on the shoulders of people who are already dealing with poverty and health disparities and the impacts of racism. This has fallen disproportionately on the shoulders of a group of people who were already struggling. It feels a little bit like we’re watching a crisis that just keeps unfolding.”

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