USDA boosts SNAP by $1 billion a month in poorest households

Households with very low incomes will be eligible for an additional $95 a month or more in emergency allotments of food stamps, said the Biden administration. The additional aid to an estimated 25 million people would amount to $1 billion a month nationwide and ends a dispute over pandemic aid that began in the Trump era.

USDA extends school-meal waivers through September

The USDA said Tuesday that it will extend a series of waivers to school meal programs through Sept. 30, as the pandemic hits its one-year mark and ongoing school closures continue to exacerbate food insecurity among low-income children. (No paywall)

With executive orders, Biden gives anti-hunger advocates a big slice of what they wanted

Amid the flurry of executive orders that marked his first 48 hours in office, President Joe Biden announced on Friday that he will ask the USDA to expand two critical food-assistance programs, as hunger continues to plague millions during the pandemic. The orders will raise SNAP benefits and increase funds awarded through the Pandemic-EBT program, which transfers the dollar amount of school lunches onto debit cards to compensate for meals kids miss while schools are closed. The early moves confirm expectations that the new administration will be serious about tackling food insecurity, through both general financial assistance and targeted food aid.(No paywall)

Why food insecurity is a huge problem among active-duty military and veterans

Federal legislation introduced this month to automatically enroll children of eligible service members into school meals programs reflects the scope of food insecurity among military families — a population that often gets overlooked in coverage of hunger and economic hardship.(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)

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)

While Congress fiddles, a critical tool to address child hunger is about to expire

A critical tool for fighting child hunger is set to expire at the end of the month, despite persistent need among millions of children due to the pandemic. The Pandemic-EBT program was created in March to give families funds to buy groceries in lieu of free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches their children would otherwise have been getting at school. Unless Congress renews the program before Sept. 30, eligible families will lose access to the benefit until at least after the presidential election. (No paywall)

UN agency warns action needed to prevent ‘food crisis’

The UN International Fund for Agricultural Development committed $40 million to support farmers and rural communities in producing food during the coronavirus pandemic. "We need to act now to stop this health crisis transforming into a food crisis," said IFAD president Gilbert Houngbo. IFAD hopes to raise an additional $200 million from UN members, foundations and the private sector. (No paywall)

Despite threat of fines, jail time, price gouging still rampant in California farmworker communities

People in some of California’s poorest towns still face exorbitant prices on staple foods more than a month after the governor declared a state of emergency that made price gouging illegal. The practice has been particularly insidious in farmworker towns like El Centro, in the Imperial Valley, and Delano, in the San Joaquin Valley. In both towns, like so many of the state’s farmworker communities, more than a quarter of residents live in poverty and most are Latino.(No paywall)

Climate change puts more than a billion people at risk of iron deficiency

Rising levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will reduce the amount of nutrients in staple crops such as rice and wheat, say researchers at Harvard's public health school. As a consequence, more than 1 billion women and children would lose a large amount of their dietary iron intake and be at larger risk of anemia and other diseases.