August 24, 2020

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FRAC’S Back-to-School Updates

Check out FRAC’s COVID-19 page for back-to-school updates during COVID-19, including a tracker for school reopening guidance and the latest on child nutrition program waivers.

COVID-19: Disparate Impact

The Coronavirus Generation, The New York Times, August 22, 2020
With hunger rising across America, classrooms closing, and parental stress surging, the pandemic is a threat to low-income children, one that could have a long-lasting impact on an entire generation. If Congress provided an allowance per child, analysts estimate that it would cut child poverty by 42 percent, based on pre-pandemic data — among Black kids by more than half. “Some people fear that if you give people benefits you create a culture of poverty,” said Diane Schanzenbach, an economist at Northwestern University. Her research “shows the opposite is true — if you invest in poor kids, they’re less likely to need benefits as adults.”

Why grocery stores are avoiding black neighborhoods, CNBC, August 20, 2020
A food desert is an area with limited access to healthy and affordable food. About 19 million people in America live in a food desert, and it disproportionately affects Black communities. Despite nationwide efforts to improve insufficient food environments, some of the biggest names in America’s grocery industry continue to avoid these neighborhoods. According to Beverley Wheeler, director of D.C. Hunger Solutions, “access to healthy food is a racial and health equity issue.” Looking towards solutions, Food Research & Action Center president 
Luis Guardia says “charities and food banks play a role but we are facing a problem of tremendous scale. Federal food programs are the tools we have to address this problem.”

Are Republicans just going to let Americans go hungry?, Dan Rodricks, August 22, 2020
“It’s hard to understand why when we are still in the midst of the worst economy since the Great Depression, the federal government isn’t doing all that it can — and all that we did just a few short months ago — to ensure that folks have access to the federal nutrition programs that feed families, and that help mend the economy.” said Michael J. Wilson, director of Maryland Hunger Solutions. “It’s equally hard to fathom why, when school districts are struggling to send kids back to school as safely as possible, the USDA is not utilizing the same waivers and programs that they utilized so successfully in the spring and summer. The pandemic emergency is not over and the job is not finished.”



Hunger in Texas Doubles During Pandemic, (KAMR-TV), August 14, 2020
According to Luis Guardia, president of the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), SNAP is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger. “We know for every one meal the food bank provides, SNAP can provide nine meals,” said Guardia.

Millions of children threatened by hunger need Congress to come together, CNN, August 24, 2020
In this opinion piece by Chobani Executive Officer, Hamdi Ulukaya, and Feeding America Chief Executive Officer, Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, write about how to
 combat the rise in hunger across America and its disproportionate impact on Black and Brown communities in the midst of the pandemic. They argue that Congress has two main options. One is to increase the maximum benefit for people enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by 15 percent for the duration of the economic crisis. The other is to extend the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, which gives families dependent on school lunch about $5 a day to offset the cost of meals they would receive during in-person schooling.

COVID-19: Child Nutrition

Food Research & Action Center Urges Secretary Perdue to Heed the Bipartisan Call to Extend Child Nutrition Waivers, August 19, 2020
“The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) is calling on Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to use his authority to extend the child nutrition waivers that were available in the spring through the 2020–2021 school year to ensure schools and private nonprofit organizations have the flexibility needed to ensure that children who rely on free and reduced-price school meals still get the nutrition they need while schools are shuttered or have schedules that include both remote and in-classroom learning,” said Luis Guardia, president of FRAC.

A new push for another round of Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) funds, News 4 San Antonio, August 22, 2020
Texas Democratic State Representative Ray Lopez sent a letter to Senator Ted Cruz and Senator John Cornyn urging them to extend P-EBT funds into the current school year and to expand eligibility to include children under 6 years old who get free meals through childcare.

Central Elementary Students to Receive Free Meals this School Year, Stephenville Empire-Tribune, August 20, 2020
COVID-19 will make more districts eligible to implement the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) this school year. Because of this increase in eligibility, more schools can reexamine CEP for being a more financially viable option than before the COVID-19 crisis. With CEP, schools and school districts are better able to meet students’ nutritional needs, according to the Food Research & Action Center’s website.



What 501(c)(3)s can do this election season to ensure that no one goes hungry, August 17, 2020
With the 2020 elections less than four months away, there are concrete examples that 501(c)(3)s can take to ensure that no one goes hungry. Here are just three examples: 1) register people to vote and work to get out the vote; 2) get people counted in the 2020 Census; and 3) educate candidates about hunger and poverty. FRAC is also co-hosting a series of webinars with the Coalition on Human Needs, the National Low Income Housing Coalition, and NETWORK on actions that nonprofits can take to register people to vote and get out the vote. Register for the webinars here.

Status Update: P-EBT Approved in 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, August 19, 2020
Now that every state has an approved P-EBT plan, strong outreach and communications are critical to ensuring that families are aware of the program and can access benefits quickly. To support this effort, FRAC created a comprehensive communications toolkit, which includes a shared repository of outreach materials and tools, to help states and advocates develop state-specific resources and to share best practices and ideas. While each state’s plan functions differently, outreach is critical, especially over the next few weeks because states must issue benefits by September 30.

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