Lack of anything to eat and food insecurity are issues expected to escalate in 2023 due to the effect of cuts to the food stamps program, high inflation, and the end of pandemic benefits.
Food insecurity indicates that someone isn’t able to secure enough food for a nutritious diet, which can lead to skipping meals or cutting back on food and consequently can have adverse implications to a person’s health and well-being.
The rise in food insecurity comes as more households struggle to pay for their typical bills amid grocery costs that have surged 20% in two years and rents that have swelled to 13%. Inflation surged last year to a four-decade high just as several pandemic-related benefits came to an end, heightening the financial stress for many.
Running Out Of Food Stamps?
“Food insecurity can be a canary in the coal mine for people who are experiencing high levels of hardship and aren’t able to meet their household needs,” Kassandra Martinchek, a research associate in the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population at the Urban Institute, told CBS MoneyWatch.
“It’s a household economic condition where folks don’t have enough resources to have enough food for their family for an active or healthy life,” she added, speaking on food stamps situation.
Even though more Americans are finding jobs — and the labor market remains strong — wages aren’t keeping up with inflation, which is chipping away at household purchasing power.
Food insecure households may “have to make really tough decisions about whether they can pay their rent and their groceries, or lifesaving medication and their groceries,” Martinchek said.
Paying For Food
Aside from people who are food insecure, there are another roughly 10% of Americans who are anxious about their ability to pay for food, she added. Thus they need more food stamps.
These are “folks who feel they are but one emergency away from being able to meet their food needs,” she noted.
To address these high levels of food insecurity in the U.S., policy changes must be carried out such as bringing back programs like the free universal school meals or the expanded Child Tax Credit which could help provide families with more resources to feed themselves and their children, Martinchek said.
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