November 16, 2020

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FRAC’S COVID-19 Updates

Check out FRACs COVID-19 page for updates, statements, and resources on actions to address the food security, public health, and economic impacts of COVID-19.

Biden Transition

How America’s approach to poverty could change in a Biden administration, Congress Willing, The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 11, 2020
“Biden has echoed the call of anti-hunger advocates to boost SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program],” said Luis Guardia, president of the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) in Washington, D.C., the largest anti-hunger lobbying group in the nation. “That’s the policy move with the biggest bang for the buck. And Kamala Harris also urged strengthening SNAP in the Senate.”

Anti-hunger groups call in Biden to reverse some of Trump’s signature initiatives, The Washington Post, November 13, 2020
According to Ed Bolen, a senior policy analyst whose work focuses on SNAP at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, anti-hunger advocates are urging Biden to focus on expanding the number of retailers in rural areas that participate in SNAP. In many rural communities, Amazon and Walmart are the only approved SNAP retailers, which leaves food-insecure residents in those areas unable to use SNAP benefits. In Puerto Rico, which receives NAP — a capped block grant with smaller benefits — instead of SNAP, food needs are not being met, Bolen said.

Impact of the 2020 Election, Rhode Island Community Food Bank, November 13, 2020
“What we’ve been advocating for is for Congress to take up a benefit boost, boosting the maximum benefit but also increasing the minimum benefit, which federally is at $16 right now. It’s putting resources in the hands of families that have great need,” said Ellen Teller, director of government affairs at FRAC.



Anti-hunger advocates expect Biden administration to bolster safety net, Ag Insider, November 11, 2020
As COVID-19 infections rise across the country, Ellen Vollinger, legal director at FRAC, said, “the focus must be on getting food into people’s hands” without compromising their safety. Doing so is less of a question of creating new policies than of authorizing and expanding pre-existing ones, while increasing enrollment in available programs. “One of the biggest disappointments we’ve had with USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture] is their lack of willingness to use all the tools in the toolbox,” she said.

Grants available for Minnesota grocers to process SNAP purchases outside the store, Star Tribune, November 12, 2020
Minnesotans who buy groceries using SNAP benefits can soon pay for them via curbside pickup or delivery, letting them buy groceries while minimizing the risk of getting infected by COVID-19 inside the grocery store. “I am really happy to hear that this is off the ground; it’s something that we’ve been hearing firsthand from SNAP households that they have a need for this,” said Leah Gardner, policy director for Hunger Solutions Minnesota.


Food Insecurity

Campus Kitchen Tackles Food Insecurity, Old Gold and Black, November 12, 2020
In North Carolina, Campus Kitchen’s substantial efforts are part of a larger initiative to address the monumental problem of food insecurity in Winston-Salem. In 2015, FRAC declared Winston-Salem to be the 14th-worst area in the nation for “families with children reporting food insecurity.” In total, there are 21 different food deserts in Winston-Salem and an estimated 62,5000 people who are food insecure.  

Food Insecurity Still High Amid Pandemic in City, Suburbs and Rural Areas Alike, WTTW, November 11, 2020
One of the many devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past several months has been a dramatic increase in food insecurity. The demographics of people facing hunger have also changed. The Northern Illinois Food Bank says it’s seen a 50 percent increase in need, and has been providing more than 300,000 meals a day through its network of 900 sites in suburban and rural areas. Food bank CEO Julie Yurko says many people don’t think food insecurity is a problem in the suburbs, and that people often feel ashamed to ask for help.

Food Insecurity Is Rising in Detroit. So Is the Number of People Fighting It., Civil Eats, November 13, 2020
This spring’s unanticipated school closure threatened a health crisis on top of a health crisis. Federal, state, and local agencies had to figure out how to get food to families, which ordinarily includes breakfast, lunch, and, in some cases, an afternoon snack or dinner program. “If the pandemic does nothing else,” said Detroit Public School Community District Assistant Superintendent Machion Jackson, “it’s made the general community see how important food service programs in schools are, and how they sustain the city.”

Emerging adults are struggling with food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic, University of Minnesota Research Brief, November 11, 2020
“As structural racism has resulted in a disproportionate burden of COVID-19 for U.S. residents who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color, our study investigated and identified a need for additional research to address the co-occurrence of food insecurity with neighborhood safety concerns, and exposure to interpersonal forms of discrimination that may further limit access to healthy food,” said study lead Nicole Larson, a nutritional epidemiologist and registered dietitian. The researchers say it will be important to conduct follow-up studies to evaluate how the needs of emerging adults may change as communities continue to cope with COVID-19.



Shine a Light on Hungry Households: Tell Congress and the President to Pass a COVID-19 Bill That Will Put Food on the Table for Millions, November 16, 2020
For many cultures and faiths, it’s the holiday season. While each holiday is unique, they share some similarities, and one of those is the important symbol of light. For example, diyas are lit for Diwali, menorahs for Hanukkah, yule logs for Christmas, and kinaras for Kwanzaa. With all of this brightness, it’s hard to imagine that many individuals and families are unsure about where their next meal will come from. After nearly a full year of COVID-19’s devastating effects, which include stretching health care resources, closing schools and businesses, and driving up unemployment, shining a spotlight on hungry households is more important than ever.

About Us

FRAC is the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States. Visit our website to learn more.

Contact Us

Food Research & Action Center
1200 18th Street, NW Suite 400
Washington, District of Columbia 20036
(202) 986-2200