In what is claimed to be one of the richest countries in history, the USA had more than 38.2 million Americans suffering from food insecurity at some point last year. A 9% rise in hunger in 2020 compared with the 2019 level of 35.2 million.
The federal government's first comprehensive attempt to document how the Covid-19 pandemic found that the number of children in the U.S. suffering from hunger increased from 10.7 million in 2019 to 11.7 million last year, also an increase of 9%.
60 million people—close to one in five U.S. residents—received charitable food assistance last year, up 50% from 2019, according to Emily Engelhard, managing director of research at Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization.
CNN reported that the group's network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries distributed over six billion meals in 2020, an increase of 44% from the year before.
Another USDA report (pdf) released last month showed that federal spending on domestic food and nutrition assistance programs in 2020 reached a historic high of $122.1 billion, which was 32% greater than the previous year.
"The new federal data tells us two things," Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, said in a statement. "First, while hunger was already a massive, systemic problem in all 50 states before Covid-19 hit the U.S., domestic hunger surged during the pandemic."
"Second, while tens of million of Americans suffered mightily from food hardship in 2020—and are still suffering mightily—the nation avoided mass starvation mostly because the federal government stepped in to dramatically increase food and cash aid," Berg continued. "This safety net was a giant food life preserver."
Stressing that "the pandemic is far from over," Berg added that "we need that aid to continue, as a down payment on the even bigger investments needed to create jobs, raise wages, and ensure an adequate safety net so we can finally end hunger in America once and for all."
With 38 Million Facing Food Insecurity, Hunger in US Soared by Nearly 9% in 2020 | Common Dreams News
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