As of April 2020, 40 percent of households with children 12 years of age or younger were food insecure, and millions of children and youth became food insecure as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In response, the federal government expanded the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and school food programs. Despite these expansions, only 15 percent of eligible children had received the expanded benefits by May and some states had not even begun to implement these policy changes. Given the urgent need to make food benefits available to low-income children and youth, the Urban Food Policy Institute and Hunger-Free America will partner to assist state and local policymakers and advocates with the implementation of these policy expansions to reduce food insecurity. The research partner will conduct a rigorous analysis of evidence of the effects of expanding public food benefits in response to emergencies, with a particular focus on state and local policy implementation. Focusing on SNAP, WIC, school meals, pandemic-EBT, and summer meals, the team will synthesize evidence on how programs were expanded, as well as barriers and facilitators to implementation and the impact of these expansions on child food insecurity. The evidence syntheses will be conveyed to policymakers and advocates in a variety of formats, including policy guides, webinars, and policy briefs. The partners will meet with policymakers to educate and assist them in policy implementation; and organize meetings, webinars, and virtual town halls to encourage the implementation of food policy expansions nationwide.
The Urban Food Policy Institute and Hunger-Free America will partner to assist state and local policymakers and advocates with the implementation of these policy expansions to reduce food insecurity.