USDA to Provide $2b in Food Aid to Combat Growing Food Insecurity Across US

by Sarah Jayawardene and Ian MacNairn

The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to provide $2 billion in food aid to food banks and school districts to help feed children and families who may be struggling to afford enough nutritious food.  This comes amid fast-rising food prices, especially for fresh fruits and vegetables, and increases in food insecurity across the country.

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, usage of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) increased by over 4 million recipients – all participants were allotted maximum benefits. Emergency funds for food aid will likely end within the next few months of 2022, which would lead to substantial decreases in monthly assistance. The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) estimates that “41 million SNAP recipients will lose an average of $82 in food benefits per month and some households will see benefits drop by as much as $200 per month.”

The USDA said that the funds are part of its “emergency food assistance” program, which provides money to government agencies and nonprofits to help low-income people buy groceries. The funds will come from the Commodity Credit Corporation, a government agency that provides loans to farmers.

These funds will go toward supporting school meal programs as well as providing assistance for food banks that have seen demand skyrocket since the pandemic started. The agency said it would also increase funding for community projects focused on nutrition education and healthy eating habits by $10 million over last year’s budget, bringing total funding up to $30 million nationwide.

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