More than 53 million Americans turned to food banks, pantries, and meal programs last year, one-third more than before the pandemic, said Feeding America, a network of food banks and hunger relief groups, on Wednesday.
To build resiliency into the food system, the Agriculture Department said on Monday it would award up to $500 million to state and tribal governments for purchases of locally grown food for emergency food assistance. The Local Food Purchase Assistance program has a goal of buying food from socially disadvantage farmers and putting it in the hands of under-served communities.
The USDA would create its third version of the food box intended to feed hungry Americans under legislation introduced by House Appropriations chairwoman Rosa DeLauro on Tuesday. The bill would require the USDA to provide boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables to schools, food pantries and youth organizations for distribution.
The USDA announced on Friday that it will invest up to $1 billion to expand emergency food networks, bolstering the ability of food banks and local organizations to serve in-need communities.
Hunger in the United States has dropped to its lowest level of the yearlong pandemic, according to Census Bureau data released on Wednesday. Analysts credited government stimulus checks, increased federal food assistance, and the economic recovery for the sharp improvement.
Although in the latest Pulse survey from the Census Bureau, fewer people said they didn't have enough food to eat in the past week, hardship rates remain very high, said the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on Wednesday.
U.S. anti-hunger programs should address the twin challenges of nutrition — supplying enough food and encouraging diets built around healthy food — at the same time after decades of focusing on a lack of food for poor Americans, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday.
Four Republicans on the Senate Agriculture Committee have spoken favorably in the past few days of additional funding for public nutrition programs during the pandemic, possibly including an increase in SNAP benefits. (No paywall)
The premiere U.S. anti-hunger program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, fails to assure a healthy diet for millions of low-income Americans, said the think tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on Tuesday. Half of all SNAP households “are still food insecure, meaning they …