FRAC stands in solidarity with everyone who is fighting for greater equality and justice for all.
COVID-19: Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Hunger Program’s Slow Start Leaves Millions of Children Waiting, The New York Times, May 26, 2020 The P-EBT program is designed to provide food relief to compensate for the meals that children would have received in schools. As of May 15, payments have been issued for about 4.4. million children out of the 30 million who potentially qualify. Some households may be a few miles apart, but if they are separated by a state boarder, they may be ineligible for benefits. “This is why we need a federal nutrition safety net – hunger does not have state boarders,” said Crystal FitzSimons of the Food Research & Action Center.
Texas parents can soon apply for food funds, KFOX14, May 29, 2020 In Texas, the P-EBT program will give a one-time $285 payment to parents of children who receive free and reduced-price school meals. Families who already receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) do not need to apply because the funds were already loaded on to their Lone Star Cards. School districts should send a link to the application for those not already receiving SNAP benefits. The payment will come on a prepaid debit card seven to 10 days after parents have submitted an application. The application is open throughout the month of June.
‘Not moving fast enough’: Millions of children still without food aid, CNN, May 21, 2020 “We know that families are losing jobs and wages, and P-EBT really is an amazing support that can help these families, but it’s not moving fast enough,” said Crystal FitzSimons, director of school programs at the Food Research & Action Center. “It is concerning that it’s taking so long and we know that families are in crisis.”
COVID-19: Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Mothers Who Rely on Federal Food Aid Struggle to Get Groceries Safely During the Covid-19 Outbreak, Time Magazine, June 1, 2020 The federal WIC program requires that participants complete their purchases in person, in front of a cashier. Even as the U.S. Department of Agriculture granted state waivers to issue WIC benefits and conduct other functions remotely during the pandemic, online grocery purchasing has not been included. “It’s an equity concern,” says Melissa Cannon, a senior policy advocate at California Food Policy Advocates, who has been working on the issue. “It’s challenging for anyone to go to the grocery store right now, given that social distancing rules are in place. You might have to wait in line for a long period of time. Those challenges are heightened for any mom who’s going in with young children.”
COVID-19: Food Access Coronavirus cases in the nation’s capital reveal a tale of two cities, ABC News, May 22, 2020 In Washington D.C.’s Ward 8, where the median income is roughly $34,000, there is one grocery store for 80,000 residents. In comparison, in Ward 3, which is D.C.’s wealthiest area, there are 10 grocery stores for approximately the same number of residents. If residents want to leave Ward 8 to buy cheaper groceries, it can take over an hour by bus, and this stark inequality is being heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are a tale of two cities,” Beverly Wheeler, director of D.C. Hunger Solutions, told ABC News. “Welcome to Washington. It is the last colony, or the last plantation depending on your orientation.”
At the San Antonio Food Bank, the Cars Keep Coming, The New York Times Magazine, May 26, 2020 Before the pandemic, 1 in 7 San Antonians worked in the hospitality industry, but by mid-May, 26 conventions already had been canceled citywide, representing 186,000 hotel rooms not occupied, and $123 million in lost revenue.As of May 15, more than 140,500 workers countywide had filed unemployment claims, a number that, of course, doesn’t include undocumented workers. By the end of June, a local economist estimates that unemployment could reach 21 percent. Before COVID-19, the San Antonio Food Bank fed 60,000 people a week across 16 counties; now it is feeding 120,000 a week.
Demands for Food Assistance Soar In Bay Area During Lockdown, Patch, May 31, 2020 The Santa Clara County Social Services Agency received double the number of applications for CalFresh — the state’s program for SNAP. The county received about 8,000 applications in April compared with 4,000 in March, according to Angela Shing, director of the Department of Employment & Benefit Services at Santa Clara County Social Services Agency.The state also has issued the maximum amount of CalFresh benefits during the crisis, which is $646 for a household of four.
COVID-19: Ongoing Hunger Oklahoma Joe: A reminder of the harsh reality faced by children, Journal Record, May 22, 2020 In anticipation of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy’s latest report on issues related to childhood challenges in Oklahoma, columnist Joe Hight looks to the organization’s calendar. On each day, the calendar highlights an issue, and since the calendar was published before the pandemic, many of these issues have only come more to the forefront. For example, on a Thursday, a page featuring a “I want to travel the world” poster by 4-year-old Lucy states this from the Food Research & Action Center: “There was a 121 percent increase in the number of Oklahoma children participating in the Afterschool Supper Program from October 2016 to October 2017, the largest increase in the nation.”
FRAC’s COVID-19 Updates Check out FRAC’s COVID-19 page for updates, statements, and resources on actions to address the food security, public health, and economic impacts of the COVID-19 emergency. Explore FRAC’s Pandemic-EBT page, which tracks this new federal program across the country.
FRAC Chat Hunger in Native America and Our Resilient Response Hunger and food insecurity are no stranger for Native Americans, who collectively make up self-governing communities throughout the United States known as Indian Country. As COVID-19 numbers rise, so do the challenges and impacts on Native peoples’ health and access to food. In order to address the escalating health crisis caused by COVID-19, Tribal governments are justifiably closing their borders and businesses. Read more to learn about the federal nutrition programs’ and food resources in Indian Country during the pandemic.
Resource Roundup: Older Adult Food Insecurity and the Response to COVID-19 Struggling with food insecurity and the associated health risks well before the COVID-19 public health crisis began, older adults have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, especially those who are 65 and older, older adults of color, and older adults with underlying medical conditions. Many are at disproportionate risk of contracting COVID-19, and struggle to put food on the table, let alone stockpile enough for sheltering in place. To protect older adults by ensuring access to nutritional support, FRAC has developed resources to connect older adults to proven nutrition programs and to advocate for needed Congressional action to address growing food insecurity among the older adult population.
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.
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