The COVID-19 Crisis Has Already Left Too Many Children Hungry in America

The COVID-19 Crisis Has Already Left Too Many Children Hungry in America

Food insecurity in the United States has increased significantly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, especially among households with young children, an analysis from the Brooking Institution's Hamilton Project finds. Based on an analysis of data from the COVID Impact Survey and the Hamilton Project/Future of the Middle Class Initiative Survey of Mothers with Young Children, the brief, The COVID-19 Crisis Has Already Left Too Many Children Hungry in America, found that by the end of the April, 22.7 percent of all U.S. households were food insecure, compared with 12.2 percent in 2018. Among households with mothers with children under the age of 18, 34.5 percent were food insecure, up from 14.7 percent in 2018, while 40.9 percent of households with mothers with children age 12 and under were food insecure, up from 15.1 percent. To address rising rates of child food insecurity, the brief calls for increasing the maximum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit by at least 15 percent and doubling the minimum benefit; providing SNAP emergency allotments to all eligible families (those receiving the maximum benefit are currently excluded); suspending SNAP work requirements for students; extending Pandemic EBT benefits — a new program that provides the value of school meals (a little more than $100 per child per month) as a grocery voucher to eligible families during school closures — through at least the end of the 2020-21 school year in the event of meal program disruptions; and supporting families with children age 5 or under by increasing the SNAP multiplier or expanding Pandemic EBT eligibility.

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