The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that it will buy $50 million worth of fluid milk for distribution to food assistance programs. The purchases would mark the first time that the agency has ever bought fluid milk under a 1935 law that enables the federal government to support farmers by buying up surpluses.
Undocumented immigrants have become cautious of seeking food aid in the Trump era because of fears they could be targeted for deportation, said a panel of food security experts last week in San Francisco.
A year ago, Washington D.C.’s Capital Area Food Bank — one of the largest food banks in the country — decided to turn away junk food, joining a growing trend of food banks who are trying to offer healthier options to low-income Americans. From soda to chips, the CAFB has reduced the junk food it supplies to its 444 nonprofit partners, including soup kitchens and food pantries, by 84 percent.
In Trinity county, California, food can at times be painfully scarce. "It’s a beautiful, remote, rural part of northern California. It’s also one of the state’s most food insecure places, where many people don’t know where their next meal is coming from," reports Lisa Morehouse in FERN's latest story in partnership with KQED's The California Report.
The nation's food banks, worried that demand will overwhelm them if Congress follows through on threats to make substantial cuts to food stamps and other nutrition programs, are making their concerns known to key lawmakers, reports Politico. "Food banks and other anti-hunger charities spent the congressional recess urging lawmakers to protect SNAP, with a special focus on moderate Republicans, who will be key in the fate of their party’s decade-long budget plan."
The USDA said it plans to buy about 11 million pounds of cheese for food banks and pantries across the nation, reducing a cheese surplus that is at its highest level in 30 years. The purchase, valued at $20 million, came after a concerted campaign by the dairy industry, which is facing a 35-percent drop in revenues.
Beginning this fall, the Capital Area Food Bank, based in Washington, will refuse donations from retailers that include candy, sugary soda or sheet cakes, says Civil Eats. It quotes the food bank's chief executive, Nancy Roman, as saying, "We are providing food on a regular basis to a low-income community and we have a moral obligation that it be good food that's not aggravating their (health) problems."
Since 2012, a Texas nonprofit has distributed more than 8 million pounds of rescued produce to more than 20,000 low-income families, and claims to be acclimating kids and entire families to prefer a healthier diet built around fresh fruits and vegetables, reports Civil Eats.