School nutrition officials overwhelmingly agree that USDA waivers reduced child hunger during the pandemic by making meals free to all students, said a report by the antihunger group Food Research and Action Center on Tuesday. FRAC said Congress ought to pass legislation for universal free school meals or extend the USDA waivers, due to expire on June 30, through the 2022-23 school year.
"Anti-hunger advocates worry that the nation may be approaching a 'hunger cliff,' as some states are ending emergency SNAP benefits even as demand at food pantries—and Covid case numbers—are rising again," writes Bridget Huber in FERN's latest story.
Poverty, hunger and poor health are interlinked problems, ones that some doctors and medical systems are trying to address by screening patients for food insecurity, connecting them with food and other resources, and advocating broadly against inequality.(No paywall)
All American public school children are currently able to get school meals for free, thanks to temporary waivers that allowed schools to serve free meals during the pandemic. And while those waivers are set to expire at the end of June, the pandemic has served as a trial run for making school meals permanently free for all students, regardless of income.
Despite a spike in food insecurity during the Covid-19 pandemic, school meals have “lost important ground” over the last two years, according to a new report from the Food Research & Action Center. The number of students regularly eating school lunches was 30.7 percent lower in the 2020-21 school year than in 2018-19, before the pandemic hit, according to the report. No paywall
Nearly a year into the pandemic, school closures have taken a harsh toll on American kids. Virtual classes have left many behind academically, and losing access to school meals has increased child hunger across the country, as replacement programs have failed to meet rising need. As children return to the classroom, school breakfasts will be critical in both curbing hunger and improving academic outcomes, according to the Food Research & Action Center’s (FRAC) annual Breakfast Scorecard, which was released today.
Nearly 13.6 million students are now receiving free breakfast and lunch through the community eligibility program, a federal initiative that has previously been targeted for cuts by Republicans, according to a new report. That figure is a 14-percent increase in the past year alone.
Participation in the Women Infants and Children program has plummeted by 25 percent this decade, reaching the point that only 3 of every 5 eligible people apply for the supplemental food and health care referrals offered to low-income pregnant women, new mothers and their offspring up to age 5. In a report issued today, the anti-hunger Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) spelled out dozens of ways for government agencies, grocers, schools and nutrition activists could remove barriers and maximize enrollment.
A new bill, proposed by the vice-chair of the House Agriculture Committee and backed by one of the largest anti-hunger groups in the nation, would raise food stamp benefits by an estimated 30 percent. Rep. Alma Adams, the lead sponsor of the "closing the meal gap" legislation, said on Tuesday that a companion bill would be filed by New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a presidential aspirant.
Breakfast participation rates at U.S. schools rose in the 2017-18 school year, and a report issued Wednesday by the Food Research & Action Center attributed that increase to decisions by schools to serve breakfast in classrooms and to offer meals to all pupils free of charge.
Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, a longtime champion of nutrition programs and a farm bill conferee, urged his colleagues not to support the House bill’s language around nutrition programs. “It is vital that we stand strong and that we side with the Senate … with regard to their language in the nutrition title,” he said in an interview on Thursday with the Food Research and Action Center.