New census data indicates improving food insecurity levels, but millions of Americans still need food assistance
Despite promising new census data showing a decline in the number of Americans reporting food insecurity, those seeking out food assistance is still much higher than it was before the start of the pandemic. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) enrollment is up by more than 6 million since 2019 and food banks are still seeing more demand than during pre-pandemic times, reports The Washington Post. One reason is the cost of grocery items, including staples like beef, poultry, eggs, and dairy, have been on the rise for more than a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Last week, the Biden administration increased food assistance benefits by roughly 27 percent to address ongoing food insecurity and inflation—the largest increase to SNAP on record. But anti-hunger advocates say the boost won’t be enough to quell food insecurity among Americans experiencing financial hardship once soon-to-expire Covid-era federal aid programs, including the summer Pandemic-EBT, a program meant to replace free or subsidized meals for kids out of school, are eventually cut off.