It's been said you can judge a society by how they treat the most vulnerable among them. By that measure, the U.S. is one of the worst in the world. People are dying all the time because they can't afford health insurance, the poorest people often have very few choices beyond illicit industries, and perhaps the most damning: literal children do not have enough food to eat. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Government gave families with children extra money on their food stamps to make up for missing school provided lunches; then, in August 2020, they took it away.
Sign now if you think feeding hungry children should be an obvious priority for the U.S. government!
The reports and studies by anti-hunger advocates are alarming to say the least. About 1 in 5 families with children do not have enough food. About 30 million children (roughly a third of all people under the age of 18) were getting reduced price or free meals at school. That means those 30 million children were already living in poverty and food insecurity before the pandemic. Now that many parents and guardians will have lost jobs, the numbers are definitely higher. Yet, because of necessary distance learning, access to food at school has disappeared. This is an equation for disaster.
The solution to this problem was set out in March, 2020. Funds going towards these school lunch programs were deferred to EBT (SNAP and other food assistance programs) so that families could buy more food at the grocery store. This program, which was called the Pandemic EBT Act, saved many families for many months until it ended in August 2020. So why would they stop funding it? Why aren't hungry children important enough for Congress to keep feeding?
The circumstances haven't changed, the economy is in shambles, poverty has gotten worse, and most kids are still learning from home. School districts have done their best to distribute food but the logistics of it all has been taxing and we know only a small fraction of kids who need meals this way are getting them. There is such an obvious fix to this problem that it is genuinely mind blowing that legislators haven't done it.
KEEP FUNDING THE PANDEMIC EBT ACT until the pandemic is over. Children should not have to suffer the horrifying, lifelong physical and psychological effects of food insecurity in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. This is absurd. We shouldn't need a petition to make our legislators care about children, but here we are. Please sign on!