Senate Democrats propose $7.5 billion to build food supply

The government would offer $7.5 billion in grants, loans, and loan guarantees to build storage capacity at food banks, send surplus food to hungry people, and help small and medium-size food processors expand production under a bill filed by Senate Democrats on Wednesday. (No paywall)

Half of SNAP recipients can buy groceries online

Online SNAP purchasing has seen phenomenal growth during the coronavirus pandemic as a way to reduce participants' exposure to the disease. With the Wednesday addition of 13 states to the program, the USDA has now approved proposals from 36 states and the District of Columbia to make online purchasing available. (No paywall)

Overcoming shame, Americans ask food banks for help

Two of every five people visiting food banks "never had to ask for help for food" before — a gauge of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, said the chief operating officer of Feeding America. Katie Fitzgerald said food banks are facing, on average, a 70 percent increase in demand. (No paywall)

Food Box purchases will precede coronavirus checks to farmers

Farmers and ranchers will begin signing up for $16 billion in coronavirus payments by the end of May if all goes according to plan, said a USDA spokesperson on Thursday. In that case, the payments would follow the USDA’s awarding of contracts for another part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, the Farmers to Families Food Box. (No paywall)

Farmers to Families Food Box will move from ‘truck to trunk’

The first deliveries of the USDA's Farmers to Families Food Box, a coronavirus relief initiative to move surplus commodities to food banks from U.S. farms, are expected in mid-May, said Agricultural Marketing Service officials on Wednesday. (No paywall)

SNAP enrollment of 50 million possible if pandemic is as bad as Great Recession

The huge job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic — 22 million Americans out of work in just four weeks — may be followed by the highest SNAP enrollment ever as people seek help buying food. Participation would near 50 million people if the same portion of the population receives food stamps as during the Great Recession. (No paywall)

Restore school ‘flexibilities,’ food directors ask USDA

On Wednesday, two days after a federal court overturned a Trump administration regulation on school meals, an association of school food directors asked Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for "quick action to restore school meal flexibilities."

Online grocery shopping becoming available to a quarter of SNAP recipients

Acting virtually overnight, the Trump administration added California and Arizona on Wednesday to the list of states where SNAP recipients can purchase groceries online for home delivery, a step that could reduce their exposure to the coronavirus. Five dozen House Democrats urged the administration to make online SNAP purchases available nationwide. (No paywall)

Nutrition assistance expands as pandemic impact deepens

The USDA has issued waivers to 43 states that make it easier for schools to provide food to low-income children who lost access to free or reduced-price meals due to coronarvirus closures, said a spokesman on Wednesday. An anti-hunger group called for more flexible treatment and speedy handling of the burgeoning number of applications for food stamps. (No paywall)