Tags: Coronavirus | census | hungry | food | shortage | meat | snap

Census: 20 Percent of American Families Short on Food

people line up for food in mass.
Thousands of people wait in a line to pick up bundles of food and goods during the weekly food pantry service run by Grace Ministries of the North Shore in Everett, Massachusetts on May 10, 2020. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 16 August 2020 08:54 AM

Americans' fear of not getting enough to eat is rising, according to the Census Bureau's weekly surveys.

One-fifth of families with kids say they could not afford enough food to feed them, a 3-point rise from 17% in June, according to the July Census, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Also, 12.1% of adults lived in homes without enough food to eat at some point during the previous week of the Census.

Since then, the $600 unemployment stimulus payment has expired and Congress has been unable to pass a new coronavirus stimulus bill to extend it. President Donald Trump has extended the payment of $400 per week by executive order, but put some of the cost burden falls on the states, which Democrats vehemently oppose. The executive order has yet to deliver payments.

Supply and demand is also driving food prices higher – up 4.1% year over year in July, including a 15% rise in meat. The meat packaging industry had been hit hard by coronavirus infections and shutdowns.

Additionaly, schools being closed has exacerbated Americans' difficulty in being able to feed their families. Food banks are seeing a demand surge and the number of SNAP food stamps recipients increased nearly 16% between March and April – the height of the coronavirus shutdowns, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The extra jobless benefits pushed most above the income threshold for food stamps, per the Journal.

"It is clear to me that there is a big problem here, and the problem seems to be worse than it was at the height of the Great Recession," Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, a Northwestern University economist, told the Journal.

Chicago-based food bank Feeding America has served 1.9 billion meals since March, a 50% uptick from normal years, and it expects the demand to rise to 14 billion meals request through next June – twice the number it can serve at capacity – according to COO Katie Fitzgerald.

"We have already responded in an extraordinary way to the elevated demand," she told the Journal. "Our fear is that we very much need federal supports to continue, because we may be struggling to respond if we have to go much higher than that."

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Americans' fear of not getting enough to eat is rising, according to the Census Bureau's weekly surveys. One-fifth of families with kids say they could not afford enough food to feed them, a 3-point rise from 17% in June, according to the July Census,...
census, hungry, food, shortage, meat, snap
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2020-54-16
Sunday, 16 August 2020 08:54 AM
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