“Childhood hunger is an imminently solvable problem. Before COVID-19, that goal was within reach,” says Share Our Strength Senior Vice President Lisa Davis. “With more than 10 years of progress erased over just a few months, Congress and the Administration must act now.”
Contact: Meredith Jorss, email@example.com
WASHINGTON, DC - This morning, the U.S. Department of Agriculture release its annual food security report, Household Food Security in the United States in 2019. This data, which covers the 2019 calendar year, is a stark reminder of how quickly hunger in this nation has skyrocketed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The following is a statement from Share Our Strength Senior Vice President Lisa Davis:
"Before the pandemic hit, there was real progress in our nation’s fight to end childhood hunger. According to the USDA, in 2019, 5.3 million children were food insecure, meaning they were actively not getting enough to eat – the lowest number on record since these statistics began being tracked in 1998 and nearly half the number from the height of the great recession in 2008. Today, it’s a much different story. According to recent estimates, anywhere from 9 to 17 million children are not getting enough to eat. And the impact on communities of color are much more severe. Studies show Black and Hispanic families with children are hit the hardest. The consequences of this will be felt for years to come.
It doesn’t have to be this way. There are programs that work together effectively and efficiently to make sure hungry kids and families get the nutrition they need, but they need federal action and they need it now.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), for example, is a safe, effective way for families to feed their children. It works alongside school meals, which provide critical nutrition for children during the week, and Pandemic EBT, which provides a benefit to replace some of those meals when schools are closed.
But these programs urgently need action if they have a chance of reaching the kids who need them.
- Schools need child nutrition waivers extended through the end of the academic year so they can plan and prepare their meal programs and continue reaching kids in need;
- Pandemic EBT must be extended to help families throughout the upcoming school year as well;
- SNAP benefits are too low, food prices have risen rapidly and the need is vast. Congress must increase SNAP benefits by 15% during this crisis, which is approximately $25 more per person per month. SNAP also provides a powerful economic stimulus.
Child hunger is an imminently solvable problem. We cannot let this crisis continue to erase more than 10 years of progress in the fight against hunger in this nation. We know what works and what led to lower food insecurity rates before the pandemic: Leadership from elected officials at all levels of government, strong federal nutrition programs, and the hard work happening every day from schools and organizations on the front lines.
To put our nation back on the path to end childhood hunger, Congress and the administration must work together and act now. While there are many issues that divide our nation, the need to protect children from hunger is not one of them. If children continue to face hunger at this scale during this pandemic, it is because Congress chose not to help them.”
About No Kid Hungry
No child should go hungry in America. But in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, 1 in 4 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.