Statement: Share Our Strength’s Lisa Davis on Programs That Ended Hunger During 2020 and the Path Forward

Contact: Christy Felling, cfelling@strength.org
 
WASHINGTON, DC—This morning, the House Committee on Education and Labor, under leadership from Rep. Bobby Scott (D., VA) released a plan for its portion of the “Build Back Better” budget reconciliation act, which includes provisions to strengthen essential programs that prevent child hunger. This comes the same day as new data from the USDA shows that, even as the United States faced a dual economic and health crisis, the number of American households facing hunger did not rise, thanks to the temporary expansion of similar nutrition programs. The following is a statement from Share Our Strength Senior Vice President Lisa Davis on programs that successfully prevent childhood hunger in the United States. 
 
“This morning, the House Committee on Education and Labor released its initial plan for the Build Back Better Act. We commend the Committee for its historic investment in programs essential to preventing child hunger, both at school and during the summer months by: 

  • Expanding eligibility for free school meals and eliminating red tape, so that nearly 9 million more children in struggling families would be able to receive free school meals
  • Creating a national Summer EBT program to provide low-income families with additional grocery benefits during the summer when school is out;
  • And other programs that provide essential support to families with children by reducing the cost of child care, strengthening school infrastructure, and helping workers secure good paying jobs through lower-cost higher education, workforce development and training. 

“We know that investing in nutrition programs protects families from hunger and enables children to grow, learn and thrive. This morning, the USDA reported that, despite great economic hardship brought on by the global pandemic in 2020, household food insecurity numbers remained unchanged in the United States. This is dramatically different from the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2008, during which food insecurity rates skyrocketed and took more than a decade to return to pre-recession rates. In 2020, the federal government temporarily expanded nutrition programs to address the need, including implementing SNAP emergency allotments, creating Pandemic EBT and authorizing waivers that allowed schools and community organizations to adapt their programs and reach more families. 
 
“It worked. But those levers are temporary. As we look toward the future, we have the opportunity and the obligation to build on that momentum and end child hunger. The policies included in the House Committee on Education and Labor package will help us do that.
 
We call on Members of the House and Senate to seize this opportunity to end hunger and change the lives of millions of children.”

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About No Kid Hungry

No child should go hungry in America. But in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, 1 in 6 kids could face hunger this year. No Kid Hungry is working to end childhood hunger by helping launch and improve programs that give all kids the healthy food they need to thrive. This is a problem we know how to solve. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of Share Our Strength, an organization committed to ending hunger and poverty.