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Washington, D.C. – New data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed that 12.3 percent of U.S. households were food insecure in 2016, declining further from a peak of 14.9 percent in 2011. Bread for the World warned that significant cuts to programs that help people living in hunger and poverty could reverse the progress that has been made.
“Unemployment has declined. Hunger has declined. Enrollment in SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) has declined, too,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World.
“There is political pressure from the president, and some in Congress, for unprecedented cuts to anti-poverty programs,” Beckmann added. “If Congress slashes the programs that help families who struggle with hunger and poverty, food insecurity and hunger will increase again.”
The USDA’s annual report, “Household Food Security in the United States in 2016,” shows that more than 41 million Americans, including nearly 13 million children, lived at risk of hunger in 2016. That is 12.3 percent of U.S. households.
Communities of color experienced higher rates of food insecurity than the general U.S. population. More than 22.5 percent of African-American households and 18.5 percent of Latino households experienced food insecurity – at nearly twice the national rate in 2016.
According to the USDA, food insecurity is “when consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.”
The system of safety-net programs launched in the 1960s has substantially reduced hunger, even though the wages of low-income workers have been stagnant for decades.
“Safety-net programs were a lifeline to millions of families when unemployment soared during the Great Recession,” Beckmann said. “We can’t let President Trump and our current Congress take this security away from all the American families struggling to get by.”
Afghanistan would be considered likely to have high rates of hunger because at least two of the major causes of global hunger affect it—armed conflict and fragile governmental institutions.
Malnutrition is responsible for nearly half of all preventable deaths among children under 5. Every year, the world loses hundreds of thousands of young children and babies to hunger-related causes.
Bread for the World is calling on the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to build a better 1,000-Days infrastructure in the United States.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.
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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is designed to respond to changes in need, making it well suited to respond to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bread for the World and its partners are asking Congress to provide $200 million for global nutrition.
In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.