September 21, 2020

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COVID-19: Hunger Crisis

We Must Act Now: ‘Hungry Families Can’t Wait’, The New York Times, September 16, 2020
In this letter to the editor, FRAC President Luis Guardia
 calls on Congress and the Trump administration to act immediately to flatten the curve on our hunger crisis and get the U.S. economy moving by making increased investments in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Federal Nutrition Programs Respond to America’s Deepening Hunger, The Washington Post, September 15, 2020
On September 15, FRAC sponsored “Fighting Food Insecurity,” a Washington Post Live event. During FRAC’s segment, Ray Suarez, host of WorldAffairs, interviewed FRAC President Luis Guardia. The interview highlighted key findings from FRAC’s latest report, “Not Enough to Eat” by contributing economist Diane Schanzenbach.  

Study: 29 million American Adults Don’t Have Enough to Eat Nearly a Threefold Increase from Two Years Ago, The Counter, September 15, 2020
Months into the pandemic, an American hunger crisis has exploded, with tens of millions of people suddenly wondering if they will be able to put food on the table. According to a new report commissioned by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), as of July, the number of people who said they sometimes or often did not have enough to eat has skyrocketed to 29 million, or 11 percent of adults in the United States. (By comparison, 8 million adults, or around 4 percent, did not have enough to eat in 2018.) In 38 states and Washington, D.C., more than one in ten adults with children had inadequate amounts of food, with the highest rates of hunger in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. 



USDA Extends WIC COVID-19 Flexibilities for Duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, September 21, 2020
The USDA today announced the extension of more than a dozen flexibilities ensuring participants in the WIC program continue receiving the food and health support they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. USDA’s extension of these waivers throughout the national public health emergency will ensure nutritionally at-risk mothers, babies, and children will receive the critical nutrition benefits and services they count on in a safe manner while allowing the program to operate based on local conditions throughout the pandemic.

Pick-up option added for area WIC participants, This is Reno, September 18, 2020
In Nevada, participants in the area WIC program now have access to limited contact grocery shopping 
during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new WIC Shopper Program benefits participants from Washoe County Health District and Community Health Alliance and continues through the end of the year.


COVID-19: Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT)

FRAC/CBPP P-EBT Documentation Project Shows How States Implemented a New Program to Provide Food Benefits to Up to 30 Million Low-Income, Food Research & Action Center, September 14, 2020
The Food Research & Action Center and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities conducted a rapid assessment project to document the development and implementation of P-EBT benefits covering the spring of 2020. The project identified the various approaches states took to implement P-EBT, as well as key preliminary lessons state officials and other stakeholders have learned.

COVID-19: School Meals and Waivers

The Power of YOUR Vote! #MomsVote, Breaking Through with Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner (MomsRising Podcast), September 14, 2020
(Interview begins at 12:00) Crystal FitzSimons: “The USDA
[U.S. Department of Agriculture] did not extend waivers until June 30, 2021. On December 31, they end. We are asking the USDA to extend them through the entire school year because we know how hard it is for schools to operate these programs.”

Hunger a Growing Concern for Hoosier Children, (Kendallville, IN), September 16, 2020
As school opening plans varied this fall, there was well founded concern that our children could end up going hungry. In late August, Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, FRAC, Feeding America, the School Nutrition Association, Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, along with 70 national and state organizations, including Indiana Youth Institute, asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to extend critical nationwide child nutrition program waivers, allowing schools and community organizations to continue operating summer nutrition programs, through the 2020
2021 school year.

COVID-19: NJ Lagging in School Meal Programs for Underserved Students, New Jersey News Network, September 16, 2020
According to a new report from
FRAC , just half of New Jersey schools are taking advantage of the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). If more New Jersey schools participated in CEP, they would be able to feed more children school breakfast and lunch.

Libraries begin handing out after-school meals to Columbus kids, The Columbus Dispatch, September 16, 2020
The Columbus Metropolitan Library is teaming up with the Children’s Hunger Alliance to provide free after school meals for children. “More than ever, our work feeding children has become even more critical,” said Judy Mobley, president and CEO of Children’s Hunger Alliance. “We are grateful to Columbus Metropolitan Library for their continued partnership and support, helping us provide meals to children in need during these uncertain times.”

Rural and Native Communities Are Hard Hit by COVID-Era Food Insecurity, Truthout, September 16, 2020
Director of school and out-of-school time programs at the Food Research & Action Center, Crystal FitzSimons, said that as the new school year rolls out, schools are working hard to figure out how best to operate food programs: “When schools closed last spring, there was no time to plan. Meal distribution programs had to operate in ways they’d never operated before. These programs don’t turn on a dime. It takes administrative oversight to get meal programs up and running.”


How are Older Adults Affected by Food Insecurity in D.C.?, WUSA9’s The Q&A with Bruce Johnson (Washington, D.C.), September 17, 2020
Melissa Jensen of D.C. Hunger Solutions stated, “The first line of defense for food insecurity is SNAP, which gives monthly funds that can be used to buy groceries. Residents can use SNAP on to order groceries delivered straight to their doorstep.”

Judge’s ruling could mean extra food assistance, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 11, 2020
Pennsylvania asked the federal government for permission to give SNAP recipients additional benefits, but that was denied by USDA. The agency is only allowing the extra aid to bring SNAP recipients up to the maximum benefit amount, while the lowest-income people – who were already receiving the maximum benefit
due to their low incomes – are receiving no additional aid. But a preliminary injunction on September 11 by Judge John Milton Younge, of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, would stop USDA from denying the emergency benefits while the lawsuit continues through the courts. “Given Plaintiffs’ economic circumstances, coupled with the exacerbating economic and public health impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the denial of emergency allotments to such individuals unquestionably constitutes irreparable harm,” the judge wrote.


More than 700,000 Pennsylvania SNAP Participants Could Benefit From New Court Order, September 17, 2020
More than 700,000 Pennsylvanians who were left out of extra SNAP “emergency allotments” when USDA denied Pennsylvania’s request for authority to issue them to all SNAP households may be able to get them pursuant to a federal court order issued on September 11. The case Gilliam v. USDA was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Congress Must Renew and Expand Pandemic EBT to Feed Hungry Kids, September 14, 2020
Congress has taken a number of steps to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on hunger, unemployment, and housing. These efforts — some of which already have expired or will expire on September 30 — remain critical for struggling families across the country. One such effort is the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, created by Congress through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. It provides an EBT card with the value of free school breakfast and lunch for the days that families lost access to free and reduced-price school meals due to school closures. Without Congressional action, P-EBT will end on September 30.

FRAC's Early Success Strengthening School Feeding Programs, September 14, 2020
In this #FRACTurns50 blog, FRAC’s Founding Executive Director, Ron Pollack, shares the organization’s critical role in the expansion of the school meals programs. This is the third installment of a three-part blog series on FRAC’s early role in strengthening the federal nutrition programs.

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