Vast Federal Aid Has Capped Rise in Poverty, Studies Find, The New York Times, June 21, 2020 The Columbia group forecasts that the poverty rate in America will rise from 12.5 percent before the pandemic to 12.7 percent afterwards. However, 13.3 percent of Americans remain unemployed. Diane Schanzenbach, an economist at Northwestern University, notes that food insecurity is twice its prepandemic rate and child hunger has risen even more. Part of the hardship may stem from the growth in income volatility – needy families generally lack credit or savings to sustain them through delays. “A lot of people aren’t seeing the money yet,” Ms. Schanzenbach said. “I’m worried about Congress taking its foot off the gas.” In addition, undocumented migrants are at a high risk of falling into poverty since they are ineligible for stimulus payments and that extends to mix-status households.
Expanding eligibility for food aid is smart government, The Gazette, June 29, 2020 In this opinion piece by Matt Russell, executive director of Iowa Interfaith Power and Light, the author speaks to his own experience of receiving school meals through the free and reduced-price meal program in the 1980s. With his own experiences as the backdrop, he thanks Governor Kim Reynolds for expanding funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in Iowa and calls on Senators Chuck Grassley and Ernst to expand SNAP benefits at the federal level.
A Grassroots Push for Higher SNAP Benefits, AG Insider, June 23, 2020 The food insecurity rate is nearly double its level before the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic slowdown. In the latest polling by the Covid Impact Survey, one in five households said they often or sometimes run out of food in the preceding month. Food banks face sharply higher demand for help at the same time as they are seeing a decline in donations. The House passed a fourth coronavirus relief package and anti-hunger advocates are conducting one-on-one conversations with senators to urge them to pass the legislation and increase SNAP benefits by 15 percent. “The Senate must act immediately,” said Luis Guardia, president of the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), on Tuesday. “Hungry people simply cannot wait.”
COVID-19: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Kansas approved for online EBT purchasing, KWCH 12 Kansas, June 25, 2020 Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced on Thursday, June 25 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the state for the online purchasing program, which will allow SNAP recipients to use their Kansas Benefits Card or Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Card to purchase groceries online. “The COVID-19 pandemic has presented enormous challenges – especially for our vulnerable families,” Governor Kelly said. “We will continue to work with our federal and local partners to make critical resources – like food and nutrition – accessible to keep families healthy and safe.” Kansas currently has more than 185,000 individuals who receive food assistance benefits totaling $265 million annually.
Organizations Urging MD Senators to Call for More SNAP funding, ABC47 (WMDT), June 23, 2020 Some Maryland organizations are urging senators to boost SNAP funding to keep those impacted by the pandemic fed and to boost the economy. “For every dollar that the U.S. government allows to be spent through SNAP – to help people buy food – $1.80 goes right back into the economy [during an economic downturn]. So, it provides a huge economic stimulus,” said FRAC President Luis Guardia.
COVID-19: Child Nutrition
USDA Just Made it Easier to Serve School Meals Amid Coronavirus Precautions, Education Week Blog, June 25, 2020 On Thursday afternoon, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue extended some flexibilities to make it easier for schools to continue distributing student meals as schools modify operations in response to COVID-19. The three waivers are extended until June 30, 2021. One extended waiver allows for non-congregate feeding, so students don’t have to stay on site while they eat. A second waives the rule that children must be present when their parents or guardians pick up grab-and-go meals. The third waives the requirement to serve meals at specific times, allowing more flexibility for mass distribution. A fourth waiver was also introduced.
Feeding A Global Need: Youth Hunger and Malnutrition Continue to Grow, The Weekly News Journal, June 23, 2020 According to FRAC, many of the children who face a nutrition gap when the school year ends also are affected disproportionately by summer learning loss, known as the “summer slide,” which refers to the loss of academic skills and knowledge over the summer. This means that these children return to school in the fall academically behind their peers and struggling to catch up before classes even begin.
Groups Call for Federal Nutrition, Health Assistance, Public News Service, June 25, 2020 In Colorado, children’s advocates are urging Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet to pass the next COVID-19 relief package, and to ensure that it includes increased support for food-assistance programs. Ashely Wheeland, director of public policy for Hunger Free Colorado, said as the nation continues to grapple with the pandemic, nutrition programs are critical for meeting children’s most fundamental needs. “So that we have the locations for them to pick up food, as well as pandemic EBT, which provides families dollars to buy food for their kids that right now aren’t getting the food that they usually get in school.”
COVID-19: Women Infants and Children (WIC)
More residents could qualify for WIC as income guidelines increase, The Tallahassee Tribune, June 25, 2020 According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, the income guidelines for the federal nutrition program Women Infants, and Children (WIC) have increased about 2 percent from last year. The newest guidelines are in effect through June 30, 2020. “This is not a change due to COVID-19 or anything else,” East Central District nutrition director Alisa Champion said. “Every year our income guidelines go up about 2 or 3 percent.” Because the health department buildings are closed to the public, applicants can mail in their information – including proof of residence, proof of identity and proof of income – and a staff member will call them for the certification process.
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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