Food-box giveaway to run through Oct. 31, says USDA

The Farmers to Families Food Box giveaway program, the Trump administration's response to hunger during the coronavirus pandemic, will run through Oct. 31 to use up the last of its $3 billion in funds, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

Food prices forecast to decline to longterm average in 2021

Grocery prices will rise a modest 1.5 percent in 2021, close to the long-term average and half of the larger-than-usual increase expected this year, said the USDA in its first forecast of food inflation in the new year.

In pandemic, one in five children are not getting enough to eat, says report

An unprecedented number of U.S. children — 13.9 million — are experiencing food insecurity and did not have sufficient food in late June due to the coronavirus pandemic, said an analysis from the Hamilton Project on Thursday. "This level of need merits a substantial and immediate public investment," said Lauren Bauer, a fellow at the Hamilton Project and author of the analysis. (No paywall)

Boost SNAP benefits by 15 percent, groups ask Senate

An increase in SNAP benefits "must be part of an effective, comprehensive response to Covid-19," said 2,500 anti-hunger, medical, religious, labor, farm, and consumer groups in a letter to Senate leaders. Republican senators, who blocked recent proposals by House Democrats for higher SNAP benefits, are expected to decide soon whether to draft a new coronavirus relief bill. (No paywall)

USDA adds vendors, extends others as food box program enters second round

The government will spend $1.16 billion in July and August to buy surplus food at the farm level, package it, and donate it to food banks and other organizations for distribution to hungry Americans. In announcing the second round of the Farmers to Families Food Box program on Wednesday, the USDA said it was extending the contracts of "select vendors" from the first round, adding "a few" new vendors, and dropping some others. (No paywall)

Survey: Unrelenting food insecurity during pandemic

One in five US households say they often or sometimes run out of food, a persistently elevated level of food insecurity as the nation faces its fourth month of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Covid Impact Survey. "Despite some public benefits in place, this is still very high," said Nick Hart, president of the Data Foundation, which launched the survey.(No paywall)

Provide free meals for all students, say school food directors

The USDA should extend all school food waivers through the end of the coming school year and make all meals free to students, said the School Nutrition Association in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday. (No paywall)

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)

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)