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Please join me in fighting for fairness.
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Share Our Strength Hunger Relief

This newsletter is a departure from the normal. But as you may know, I have been a food activist fighting hunger for decades, and at this critical inflection point, I am compelled to speak out against hunger today.

Here's the terrible basic fact: 14 million kids do not have enough to eat. It’s practically impossible to wrap your mind around that number. Or this statistic: Nearly 1 in 5 kids are hungry or food insecure. This number is almost three times higher than during the worst moment of the Great Recession, and more than five times higher than in pre-pandemic times—erasing a decade of progress in the fight against childhood hunger. 
 
Sadly, Black and Latinx families, the same families who are disproportionately affected by the health crisis, are disproportionately affected by hunger. Latinx families are 2.5 times and Black families are 3 times more likely to experience hunger than white families.
 
The ripple effects of hunger are irreversible. Simply put, kids can’t learn if they can’t eat. And if they don’t learn now, they won’t be earners in the future.
 
The uncertainty of opening schools—with some operating in person, others 100% virtual, and still others offering a mix of both in-person and virtual learning—and the even greater uncertainty about how long schools will stay open, make the situation even more dire. Schools are often a main source of food for kids facing hunger. Clearly, we need alternative solutions.
 
Lisa Davis of Share Our Strength/No Kid Hungry points out, we just have to access the existing and available resources to connect the food with the kids. Most urgently, we need the USDA to extend the waivers that began in March and that allowed schools to serve meals through the Summer Food Service Program rather than through National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs. What this means is that schools can provide meals to students’ younger siblings who are not yet in school and serve food to children without verifying that they are enrolled in that school or district. Additionally, these waivers allow schools to get a slightly higher federal reimbursement for each meal, which reflects the increased costs (PPE, more packaging, outdoor refrigeration) of providing meals during a pandemic.
 
The stress that families are under should not be compounded by worrying about feeding their children. The USDA can and must take action now to make sure children aren’t falling through the cracks of administrative red tape.
 

We also need Congress to provide relief to families. This includes increasing SNAP benefits by 15 percent, or about $25 per person, and extending Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT, a new program that provides families whose children receive free and reduced-price meals with the value of those meals (about $5.70 per day) when schools are closed. If you can’t quite envision what $25 per month can do to help a hungry child, click here. Congress needs to get back to work immediately and pass a COVID relief bill that includes these provisions.
 
So, how can we help? We must urge our representatives to step up, speak out, and be on the right side of this fight. And let me be clear: This is not a partisan issue—hungry kids don’t see red or blue, they see only the stress on their parents’ faces. All they feel is the emptiness in their bellies, and the enervation that comes with being hungry.
 
You can take action here to ask your legislators to increase SNAP and extend P-EBT: Just click this link, and fill in some simple info to send a letter to your legislators, letting them know there is no priority above feeding hungry kids.
 
It is unconscionable to let one child, much less 14 million children, go hungry. Please join me in fighting for fairness.
 
Thanks so much,
Katie
 
PS: Donating money helps, too. You can do that here. 
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE . . .
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