Congress remains at a standstill over another coronavirus rescue kit. However, six months after the pandemic started upending the lives of Americans, tens of millions of people still cannot afford enough food for themselves and their families.
The pandemic has brought the nations on its knees. The citizens have nothing left with them. The savings are all over. The food is not there, and they do not have the money to buy proper food for their family. This is not affecting only the families but the biggest impact this has shown is on the kids. Hunger has risen since the epidemic, and advocates are calling on lawmakers in their budget bill to expand two primary child nutrition relief initiatives before the end of the fiscal year on September 30. They are also pressing Congress to extend the benefits of food stamps, which would help stimulate the economy as well.
There were a lot of food packages and other services that were being offered by Congress in the initial days, but now it has also started to slow down, and the kids are left hungry. According to Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, director of the Center for Policy Research at Northwestern University, almost 11 per cent of adults said in July that their households often or sometimes do not have enough to eat, up from 3.7 per cent in 2019. In July, the proportion of adults in households with children in this situation was over 14 per cent, also far higher than last year.
Congress developed the Pandemic-EBT initiative as part of its mid-March coronavirus rescue package, which provided low-income families with money to substitute the free or reduced-price meals their children will receive in kindergarten. We all understand that COVID is not going to leave anytime soon, and this is just going to worsen the situation now. No jobs and no money has left the people in a dilemma of what to do next. According to sources that employment is not going to come back on track before 2023.
These incentives, allocated to more than half of US school-age children, ranged from $250 to $450 per pupil, depending on how long the school was closed in the spring. Now that the new school year has started, the US Department of Agriculture has allowed at least nine states to provide families with money to substitute meals that will be served in August and September. Approval is awaited by other nations. This past spring, the additional funds made a difference. The proportion of children not having enough to eat decreased by more than 30 per cent during the week after the benefits were paid, according to an estimation made by the Brookings Institution’s economic policy initiative, The Hamilton Project. For approximately 3 to 4 million children, this translates into reduced hunger, the authors said.
Though schools also served grab-and-go meals, at a time when they wanted to stay at home as much as possible, the Pandemic-EBT funds reached more families in need. It is not an additional ride, Whitmore Schanzenbach said. It just means that you get more money to spend on the trips that you take to the grocery store. About $7 billion and $10 billion in food assistance was provided by the Pandemic-EBT program in the spring. But the expense is ‘minimal,’ and the program eliminates certain meals that were not served in kindergarten, said Stacy Dean, vice president of food aid policy at the left-leaning Budget and Policy Priorities Center, noting that in the spring and summer, federal spending on school meals was down.
The exemptions that allow families to pick up meals at school through the remainder of 2020 have been extended by the US Department of Agriculture. But, Lisa Davis, senior vice president of Share Our Power, which aims to end hunger and poverty, said the initiatives could last the entire school year to give districts and parents more clarity and more time to prepare. She points to a pause in the extension of certain exemptions that left schools unable to provide certain households with take-home meals until the USDA acted on August 31, forcing empty-handed parents to go home.
They were also eligible to pick up food for children too young to go to school, and they did not need to show their eligibility for the free- and reduced-price program that feeds about 22 million children with low incomes. According to a report by the Urban Institute, some 61 per cent of parents whose children were in the free or reduced-price school meal program prior to the closure received meals in May. Closing is the window to prolong the waivers. By September 30, the USDA must either do so, or Congress must renew the authority of the agency by that time.
As the food stamp program is officially called this spring, lawmakers took a few measures to strengthen the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Pop, Yet Congress has not decided to increase the amount of compensation temporarily, as it did after the financial crisis of 2008. This year, Democrats pressed for a 15 per cent increase to the overall food stamp again several times, including it in May in the House coronavirus relief bill. It will include an additional $25 per month for each recipient.Life has become miserable, and you can see people fighting for food packages also. This was not the future that the US dreamt of. But now they do not have any option .the bills are coming to, and end and the elections are on head.
There is complete chaos in the country, and people are losing their cool. What has to be is not yet decided. The officials also said that this could lead to people falling into illegal practices. This will increase the number of theft in the country, and even the kids can fall into bad practices like drugs, etc. We all are hoping that life comes back to its normal form, and we get a vaccine soon so that the industries can open, and the economy can start getting in better shape.
With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.