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Hunger Cliffs 2024

5 min read

In February 2023, SNAP benefits that were put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, known as emergency allotments, ended nationwide, casting millions of citizens of the richest nation on earth into food insecurity and risk of malnutrition. Now, one year later, millions of Americans will again have to tighten their belts as House Speaker Mike Johnson and the Republican Majority in Congress plan to take their bible belt to social programs like SNAP which provide relief to struggling families and individuals.

Anti-poverty Advocates are worried there will be a sharp increase in food insecurity in 2024 for Food Stamp (SNAP) recipients. NBC News reports that since the beginning of 2020, the number of food stamp recipients in the US increased by 2.3 million to over 42 million. Over a million Americans lost food-stamp benefits in Kevin McCarthy and the Republicans’s 2023 Debt-Ceiling Deal. The number of our friends and neighbors with empty bellies has increased due to inflation and low wages as nutrition benefits have decreased by an average of at least $95 a month per person.

In March of 2023 the Biden-Harris Administration launched a Challenge to End Hunger with public and private sector involvement. President Biden’s goal is to end hunger and reduce diet-related diseases by 2030 but if you’re struggling to afford enough to eat… six years is a long way from here.

Since the 1990’s people ages 16 to 49 must meet work requirements of at least 20 hours a week to get SNAP benefits. It is important to understand that most working age SNAP recipients work, but in low-wage, unstable jobs with sporadic and limited hours such as gig workers in the arts and service industries. SNAP helps workers to supplement low wages and support them when they are between jobs.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the Associated press that “No child in this country should go hungry.” We agree, but what about older Americans who worked and paid taxes their entire adult lives and are too old to work? The lack of access to nutritious food is literally deadly. Malnutrition deaths among older adults are now at a historic high in the United States, disproportionately affecting people over 85 years old, females, Non-Hispanic Whites, those in urban areas and especially in the Western US.

“A US Institute of Health study released in November 2023 found that deaths among older adults from malnutrition in the US jumped from 2013 to 2020. Despite some initial decrements in malnutrition mortality among older adults in the U.S., the uptrend from 2013 to 2020 nullified all established progress. The end result is that malnutrition mortality rates represent a historical high.”

“The end result is that malnutrition mortality rates represent a historical high.

NIH – National Library for Medicine

As we enter 2024 there is some very good news. The Biden-Harris Administration announced earlier this month their plan to provide summer grocery money to 21 million children in all five US Territories, four tribes and 35 states, including California. Families who are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches will be eligible for Summer EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer program) distributed by the Department of Agriculture. 

Still too many Angelenos continue to grapple with the pandemic’s massive disruption to the economy as families have seen their food benefits tumble from $281 per month, to as little as $23 per month. SNAP does not provide enough aid to cover people’s food needs.

Lines at food banks across the country have increased by 40% over the last year. In Los Angeles, Food Banks have seen a rising need across our city as food, housing, and basic living expenses explode. Director of Valley Food Bank, Jeremiah Booth said they are struggling to care for everyone that comes through their door as more and more families lose assistance.

Local food pantries and aid providers rely on government assistance and citizen donors that are crucial to narrowing the gap between paychecks for our working poor who are stuck in circumstances that are not their fault.

Beyond feeling bad, what can YOU do about this? Please call your congressional representative and tell them to increase SNAP benefits for constituents not cut them.  Find My REP!

Any donation you make to a local food bank helps provide food for local families that struggle to find stability and self-sufficiency.

Need Help?

Food Pantry Programs in LA | https://www.findhelp.org/food/food-pantry–los-angeles-ca

Food Bank Resource Guides | LA County: https://file.lacounty.gov/SDSInter/dmh/219900_FOODBANKRESOURCESasof9-30-14.pdf

CHIRP LA | https://www.chirpla.org/sites/chirpla.org/files/u532/Food%20Bank%20Guide%202021_4.pdf

Valley Food Bank | 12701 Van Nuys Blvd, Ste A | Pacoima, CA 91331 | valleyfoodbank.org/donate

Los Angeles Regional Food Bank | 1734 East 41st Street | Los Angeles, CA 90058 | lafoodbank.org

No Kid Hungry | nokidhungry.org

The USDA’s Hunger Hotline connects callers with emergency food providers in their community, government assistance programs, and various social services. 1-866-3-HUNGRY(1-866-348-6479) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273) for Spanish. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET.


The Biden-Harris Administration – White House 


Yahoo News: Expect Life for Food Stamps Recipients To Get Harder (Not Easier) in 2024 — Here’s Why – by Josephine Nesbit https://finance.yahoo.com/news/expect-life-food-stamps-recipients-161516199.html#

Feeding America: https://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america

NBC News: Food benefits for millions at center of latest Washington spending fight Despite record low unemployment, nonprofit groups say they continue to see rising demand for food assistance as Congress debates further cuts. By Shannon Pettypiece https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/economics/food-benefits-millions-center-latest-washington-spending-fight-rcna104124

Code for America: Why Californians need food assistance The stories behind the numbers https://snapstories.codeforamerica.org/#:~:text=Two%2Dthirds%20of%20people%20who,81%25%20work%20within%20a%20year.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Most Working-Age SNAP Participants Work, But Often in Unstable Jobs BY Most Working-Age SNAP Participants Work, But Often in Unstable Jobs BY BRYNNE KEITH-JENNINGS AND RAHEEM CHAUDHRY – The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities 

NIH – National Library for Medicine (National Center for Biotechnology Information) – Malnutrition-related mortality trends in older adults in the United States from 1999 to 2020 By Naydeen Mostafa, Ahmed Sayed, Omar Rashad, Omar Baqal https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37936140/

CBS News: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/usda-grocery-ebt-21-million-children-summer-2024-what-to-know/


US Department of Agriculture: https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2024/01/10/nearly-21-million-children-expected-receive-new-grocery-benefit

Link to LA Food Bank
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