According to Feeding America, more than 50 million people, including 17 million children, faced food insecurity in 2020 due to COVID-19. That is 6 million more children since prior to the pandemic. In the Philabundance service area, childhood hunger ranges from 32.8 percent in Philadelphia County to 14.7 percent in Chester County. Across our area—and across the country—child hunger has increased at alarming rates.
To address child hunger, the government has worked to make free and reduced-price school meals accessible even when schools are closed by distributing those meals to children in alternative settings. In addition, Congress has extended a program known as Pandemic EBT, which provides funds on an electronic benefit card to households with children eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. This benefit supplements the cost of the food that children would otherwise be receiving in schools had it not been for school closures. Finally, the government increased Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by 15 percent, which will help entire households struggling with food insecurity. To meet this enormous need, government, private entities, and non-profits must come together to make sure our children have the nutrition they need to grow, learn, and thrive.
Philabundance will be advocating for policies, working with partners, and bringing food into communities to do our part.