Report: Coronavirus worsens food insecurity in the South

Three Southern states — Virginia, Kentucky and Arkansas — are among the eight states nationwide with the lowest SNAP participation rates, says the Food Research and Action Center. The coronavirus pandemic "is exacerbating the already alarming rates of food insecurity in the Southern region," said a FRAC report that recommends expansion of federal nutrition programs, such as SNAP, WIC and school meals, to meet the need.

Boost SNAP benefits by 15 percent to weather coronavirus, says think tank

Just as lawmakers temporarily increased food stamp benefits during the Great Recession of 2008-09, Congress should boost benefits to help poor families cope with the economic downturn that is accompanying efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, said the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on Thursday. (No paywall)

As Senate passes coronavirus relief package, farm groups call for support in next round

The Senate voted on Wednesday to pass an emergency aid package that will, among other provisions, expand funding for nutrition programs as the nation confronts the economic toll of the spreading coronavirus. As the bill heads to President Trump for a likely signature, farm and food groups are urging Congress to include the agriculture sector in forthcoming relief efforts.(No paywall)

More than $1 billion for public nutrition in COVID-19 bill

The government would provide lunch money for low-income children shut out of school meals by COVID-19 closures under the "families first" bill proposed by House Democrats. The bill would provide an additional $1 billion for other public nutrition programs. (No paywall)

Labor shortages, SNAP cuts, trade deals: How could coronavirus affect our food supply chain?

Although U.S. shoppers concerned about the coronavirus pandemic have largely emptied stores of paper products and household cleaning supplies, so far most other grocery aisles remain stocked. Still, as the virus spreads across the U.S., it could expose other weaknesses in our food supply chain, experts say. (No paywall)

‘Public charge’ rule chills nutrition program enrollment among immigrants

Across the country, fear and confusion about the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule has prompted immigrants and their families to drop out or stay out of pubic nutrition programs, even when they are eligible, according to immigrant and anti-hunger groups. Enrollment in the Special …

Anti-hunger group suggests ways to reverse a plunge in WIC enrollment

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.

Roberts sees route for reauthorizing child nutrition this year

After warning against saddling small schools with big-city regulations, Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts said on Wednesday that Congress could act swiftly on the overdue renewal of child nutrition programs. The programs, headlined by school lunch and WIC, cost $30 billion a year.

Congress moving slowly on child nutrition reauthorization

Although key lawmakers in the House and Senate support an update of U.S. child nutrition programs, headlined by school lunch and WIC, the timeline for those updates is unclear. “If we can’t go forward, we’ll wait,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow on Thursday, in a reference to disputes over school food standards.

USDA will name a ‘chief integrity officer’ for public nutrition

The USDA’s senior nutrition official, Brandon Lipps, announced an enhanced focus on program integrity for the agency’s 15 public nutrition programs, which include SNAP, school meals, and WIC.