In Puerto Rico, 40 percent suffer food insecurity with no end in sight

Even before the pandemic, Denise Santos was struggling to get food to in-need families in Puerto Rico. As president of the Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico, the island’s largest food bank, she had spent the years that followed Hurricanes Irma and Maria—which devastated Puerto Rico in 2017—working to fight hunger. Then, in January, a massive earthquake hit, unleashing thousands of smaller temblors that left thousands of families homeless, and destroyed infrastructure. Two months later, the pandemic struck. (No paywall)

A ‘hungry winter’ ahead, as food insecurity remains severe

Child hunger has dipped since the summer but still remains near record levels, according to a new analysis from The Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project. With Thanksgiving around the corner, the findings point to enduring hardship and food insecurity, eight months after the first pandemic-related shutdowns began. (No paywall)

Survey: 40 percent of U.S. children live in households that struggle to afford enough food

More than four in 10 American children live in households that are struggling to afford such basic expenses as food and medical bills, according to detailed data released yesterday by the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. Advocates say the new data, coupled with findings from the previous Pulse survey, paints a grim picture of childhood hardship and highlights the urgent need for new economic relief measures.(No paywall)

Study: Participation in afterschool nutrition programs was rising before pandemic

Even before the pandemic, participation in Afterschool Nutrition Programs was on the rise, according to a report released today from the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC). The findings highlight the need to ensure meal access when kids aren’t in school, particularly as the pandemic drags on.(No paywall)

School meal programs have lost more than $483 million so far during the pandemic

School meal programs have taken a massive financial hit during the coronavirus crisis, according to a new survey from the School Nutrition Association. The survey, which includes responses from school nutrition directors in 1,614 school districts across the country, points to the crippling costs of adapting to pandemic-related constraints, and significant losses due to a drop in participation in the school-lunch program.(No paywall)

Advocates push to make WIC waivers permanent

Last week, the USDA extended a series of flexibilities in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children for the duration of the Covid-19 public health emergency. The waivers for the program, commonly known as WIC, have allowed participants to apply for benefits remotely rather than in person, and expanded both pickup options and the scope of eligible products. (No paywall)

P-EBT to be renewed for a full year, says Pelosi

The stopgap USDA program that helps low-income parents buy food for their children who miss school meals because of closures will be renewed for a full year, rather than expiring on Sept. 30, said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday. Extension of the so-called Pandemic EBT program was part of nearly $8 billion in nutrition assistance added to a government funding bill during negotiations with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Pelosi said in a statement.

USDA finally extends WIC pandemic waivers, just a week before they were to expire

The USDA on Monday extended a series of flexibilities in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children for the duration of the Covid-19 public health emergency. Pandemic-related waivers for the program, commonly known as WIC, have allowed participants to apply for benefits remotely, expanded pick-up options, and broadened the scope of eligible products.

Schools are feeding millions of children. Now they face huge losses.

Public schools served tens of millions of emergency meals in April, mostly often in drive-through lanes, to low-income children after coronavirus closures ended cafeteria service, said a survey released on Monday. Nonetheless, roughly half of the 1,894 districts taking part in the School Nutrition Association survey reported a drop-off of at least 50 percent in meals served. (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."