Amid the corona pandemic and the recession that ensued, the United States government is undertaking a major campaign to feed the less fortunate – as part of a larger campaign for racial justice – and hoping that the value of such help will lead to a permanent change.
“We can build a stronger, longer-lasting safety net,” says Stacy Dean, a senior official at the Agriculture Department and a former anti-hunger advocate. Through the campaign, the Biden administration temporarily boosts food stamps by more than $1 billion a month, grants snacks for children in need, expands a produce allowance for pregnant women and children, and authorizes a children’s summer feeding program which is the largest in the country’s history.
The Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer will continue through the summer, thus becoming a $6 billion pilot program. Over one in ten households don’t have enough to eat: according to a recent census, 8.4% of adults “sometimes” lack food, and 2.3% “often”, meaning that there are 23 million hungry adults and millions of famished children. Hunger is especially pronounced among Black and Latino households, the two minorities most affected by poverty, and Biden officials plan to make the aid program permanent with the added motivation of ensuring racial fairness.