As the coronavirus pandemic continues to surge across the nation, food insecurity has become greater as families are forced to rely on unemployment benefits that are running out for many at the end of the year. Added to this state of events is the real numbers behind those who have been impacted the hardest by the downturn in the economy.
Unless Congress passes a second COVID-19 stimulus bill, conditions for low-income families will become more dire, especially those households with children and families of color, who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, according to the latest U.S. Census data.
In communities of color, the unemployment rate has surged to 18.9 percent. Additionally, besides the high unemployment numbers, Blacks and Latinos have seen disproportionately high rates of deaths and infections.
️ As millions of families turn to food banks for help, food banks are facing a 50% drop in food from @USDA in 2021.
Tell Congress: prevent any cut in food support & don't let a single person who needs help putting food on the table go hungry. ➡️ pic.twitter.com/bVYXiZaROK
— Feeding America Advocacy (@hunger) December 8, 2020
“Congress has been fighting about an extra stimulus package since the summer and meanwhile, children are going hungry, families are worried about losing their homes,” Lisa Davis, senior vice president of the No Kid Hungry Campaign, told ABC News. “If kids continue to go hungry, at this rate, it’s because Congress chose this path.”
In a study conducted in June by the Northwestern Institute for Policy Research, using USDA data, it was found that since the pandemic hit in March this year, food insecurity has increased in each state, doubling overall and tripling among households with children.
“In the most recent Census Pulse survey, collected Oct. 28-Nov. 9, nearly 26 million adults reported that their household didn’t have enough to eat.” @MarketWatch #Congress needs to pass a bill to get stimulus to struggling families NOW. December 4, 2020
Food Banks and SNAP benefits
Food Banks have become a real blessing to millions of people during this pandemic, yet for every meal from a food bank, a federal program called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, provides nine, reports the Associated Press.
Anti-hunger groups have lobbied Congress for a 15 percent increase in maximum food stamp benefits. This action was taken during the Great Recession of 2008. The House of Representatives passed a stimulus bill earlier this year that included a provision for an increase in SNAP benefits, but it has been bogged down in partisan squabbling.
(1/2) “We didn’t have a Christmas tree this year because we couldn’t afford it. But, we strung up some lights in a corner and tried to get the kids a few presents. We made it work the best we could.” -Ashley pic.twitter.com/s8yMR4PtEN
— Feeding America (@FeedingAmerica) December 11, 2020
“Food banks and food pantries are doing great work,” says Luis Guardia, president of the Food Research & Action Center. “But they simply cannot do enough to be something of the order of magnitude that we’re seeing right now. ”
In an opinion piece on CNN News, written by Wes Moore, the CEO of Robin Hood, one of the largest anti-poverty forces in the nation, he says: “People should not have to choose between buying food and running out of SNAP benefits before month’s end or going hungry to make ends meet. They should not have to choose between being forced to return to work at a job where safety precautions aren’t being taken seriously or going hungry. And they absolutely should not have to choose between paying rent or putting food on the table.”