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CA Food Banks applaud President Biden’s expeditious action on hunger

January 23, 2021

Today, President Biden signed executive orders and the USDA confirmed several important policies that seek to mitigate hunger and take important steps to use our country’s proven, effective food safety net to address the ongoing hunger crisis. We applaud President Biden and Vice President Harris as in just the first week of this Administration they have twice put forth actions to address the record levels hunger in California and our country as a result of COVID-19 and subsequent economic crisis, that includes deep disparities for low-income communities of color.

Right now, 1 in 4 California households facing hunger – a staggering 10 million people. We are grateful that the executive order signals that prioritizing the nourishment of the American people by fully utilizing the food safety net programs is a national priority. Food banks continue to face a double the demand and despite their extraordinary efforts, they cannot do this alone. For every meal that food banks distribute, SNAP (CalFresh in California) delivers nine. What’s more, investments in SNAP are proven as one of the best methods to create jobs and drive economic recovery in our critical and hard hit food sector.

CAFB and our partners in the Western Regional Anti-Hunger Consortium called for the actions taken today as national priorities, which include:

  • Lengthening the duration of the 15% boost to SNAP benefits
  • Directing USDA to provide guidance to states to increase SNAP emergency allotments for the lowest-income households most in need of additional aid
  • Boosting Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) benefits by 15%
  • Directing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to address the inadequacy of SNAP benefits by reviewing the Thrifty Food Plan that the Institute of Medicine has deemed inadequate to support healthy living

Providing Emergency Allotments for the 40% of CalFresh households – the lowest income – who are already at the maximum monthly allotment, is critically important and reverses cruel prior guidance that denied emergency allotments to this population. CAFB was proud to provide an Amicus Brief in support of the litigation filed by the Western Center on Law & Poverty and Impact Fund challenging this interpretation of the Families First Act.

We look forward to working in California to implement these critical policies, as well as with the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to swiftly take additional action to continue this fight against hunger. The WRAHC has outlined several additional urgent priorities to fully utilize SNAP and the entire food safety net. And we echo the Food Research & Action Center that we must address hunger during the summer and whenever school is out of session, as food banks are on the frontlines of these annual spikes in child hunger: Pandemic EBT type benefits must be provided to families during these periods.

We know how to solve hunger, and have the moral obligation to do so.

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