To the Editor:
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, hunger has been increasing dramatically in the United States and around the world. A recent study by the Brookings Institute found that our nation’s child hunger rate is three times higher than during the Great Recession. And the medical journal The Lancet reports that globally an additional 10,000 children per month could die due to coronavirus-related malnutrition.
We need "all hands on deck" to combat the hunger crisis caused by COVID-19, and we need Congress to act now. Bread for the World, a bipartisan Christian advocacy group, is calling for a 15% increase to SNAP maximum benefits and $20 billion toward a global response, to help our neighbors here and abroad. Bread has a long history of bipartisan initiatives to reduce hunger like child nutrition funding, debt relief for poor countries, and small farmer support.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is our country’s most cost-effective anti-hunger program. By increasing SNAP, we help hungry families, support our local economy and strengthen the health of our communities.
Globally, less than one percent of our federal budget goes toward foreign assistance, but even less than that (about 0.1%) has gone to help low-income countries respond to the pandemic. These are our trade partners, our current and future allies, and our fellow human beings. We can do better.
If there is one thing this pandemic has taught us, it’s that we are all connected. I hope you will join me in urging our U.S. senators, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, to increase SNAP and provide global funding in the next COVID-19 legislation.