Food insecurity grows by a third due to pandemic

Some 1.2 billion people do not get enough to eat to sustain a healthy and active lifestyle in 76 countries monitored by the USDA for food insecurity, an increase of 291 million people, or 32 percent, caused by the pandemic. "The economies of the countries ... sharply contracted in 2020 due to the widespread pandemic, resulting lockdowns and other controls impacting business activity, employment and incomes," said the annual International Food Security Assessment.

Ongoing delays in P-EBT slow rollout of Biden’s summer food programs

More than two months since the Biden administration announced the most ambitious summer food program in U.S. history, the USDA has approved benefits distribution plans for just 18 states — even with school out of session across the country.

USDA-FDA bill is blank check for SNAP, says GOP

The government is forecast to spend twice as much on SNAP this fiscal year — $114 billion — as it did before the pandemic, and the lead Republican on the House Appropriations Committee said Democrats wrote a blank check for food-stamp spending in the new fiscal year. Majority-party Democrats, meanwhile, said they wanted to make sure SNAP recipients receive their benefits.

Food insecurity eases, but remains stubbornly high for Black and Latino households

Food insufficiency remains above pre-pandemic levels for all Americans, but among Black and Latino households the problem is particularly acute, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey.

In New York City, gig workers facing food insecurity are fighting back

Demand for couriers grew during the pandemic, yet their conditions only deteriorated. Lockdowns cut into their hours, leaving many workers struggling to pay bills and feed families. Eighty percent of gig workers surveyed in the summer of 2020 by the University of California, Los Angeles, Labor Center said they weren’t making enough to meet household expenses. A third did not have enough for groceries.(No paywall)

USDA announces major expansion of emergency food networks

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 relief organizations say pandemic revealed systemic flaws

Safety constraints related to the coronavirus pandemic forced hunger relief organizations to eliminate key operations over the last year, including community meals and school-related programs, even as they struggled to meet increased demand for their services, according to a survey released yesterday by WhyHunger and Duke University.

Dean says USDA will bring standards for school meals, WIC, in line with Dietary Guidelines

With hunger levels stubbornly high and an estimated 1 in 5 American children obese, Stacy Dean, the deputy undersecretary for food, nutrition, and consumer services, told lawmakers Wednesday that the USDA would update nutrition standards for school meals and the WIC program to meet current Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

‘Put kids first,’ say advocates in call for universal free school meals

On the heels of new legislation that would provide free school meals to all American children, advocates from the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), American Academy of Pediatrics and American Federation of Teachers doubled down on the urgent need for action amid persistent childhood hunger and an escalating obesity crisis.(No paywall)

How a venerable soup kitchen in Portland, Maine, kept feeding the hungry as Covid-19 ravaged the city

In March 2020, Covid-19 forced the Preble Street soup kitchen in Portland, Maine, to close its dining room for the first time in 39 years. But, as Christian Letourneau reports in FERN's latest story, published with Eater, the soup kitchen staff went mobile, tracking and delivering meals and other services to the growing ranks of the hungry and homeless who scattered across the city as shelters and other aid operations shut down or restricted access. (No paywall)