Hours after he was nominated for a second term, President Trump announced at a produce packing house in North Carolina an additional $1 billion on Monday for the food-box giveaway program that is his administration's answer to hunger during the pandemic. Nearly 71 million boxes of food have been delivered since the program began on May 15 but critics question if it is a fair and efficient way to help families.
The Trump administration should immediately extend two waivers that allow schools during the coronavirus pandemic to serve meals at no charge to students, whether in the cafeteria, the classroom, or as grab-and-go meals at the curbside, said former education secretary Arne Duncan on Monday.
Four dozen House Democrats warned the USDA against using its food box donation program "to distribute a self-promoting letter from the president" ahead of the Nov. 3 election, criticizing the idea as a political use of federal resources.
With Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s running mate confirmed, anti-hunger advocates say the presidential ticket is well equipped to tackle an urgent concern: food insecurity. Sen. Kamala Harris has consistently pushed for bolstering the social safety net, notably calling for the 15-percent increase in SNAP benefits that experts say would significantly reduce hunger. (No paywall)
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 Pandemic EBT program, created by Congress to help low-income families buy food for their children during school closures, "is hitting its target," said researchers at the Brookings Institution. "We find that Pandemic EBT reduces food hardship faced by children by 30 percent in the week following its disbursement."
In a largely positive review of government programs to address mounting hunger during Covid-19, a panel of experts and advocates speaking at the National Food Security Conference on Wednesday encouraged Congress to boost spending on the anti-hunger programs it has developed since the pandemic began. (No paywall)
Food stamp benefits will rise by 5.3 percent in October, to a maximum of $680 per month for a family of four in the continental United States, said the USDA Food and Nutrition Service on Wednesday. The cost-of-living adjustment was announced even as anti-hunger groups are calling for a temporary 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits during the pandemic.
Senate Republicans proposed $20 billion in additional aid to agriculture in their new coronavirus package on Monday, leaving it to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to allot the money. At the same time, Republicans decided against an increase in food stamp benefits, a goal of House Democrats. The proposed increase in farm aid came as the USDA released figures showing that it has only spent a little more than 40 percent of the $16 billion that was earmarked for farmers and ranchers in the CARES act. (No paywall)