Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

New FEED Act to Address Food Insecurity With Help From Restaurants

Food
New FEED Act to Address Food Insecurity With Help From Restaurants
Tens of thousands of restaurants closed at the start of the pandemic are still recovering. Unsplash / Michael Browning

By Francesca DiGiorgio

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is working to increase federal aid for emergency food distribution in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The FEMA Empowering Essential Deliveries (FEED) Act will allow local and state governments to partner with restaurants on initiatives that feed people in need. It also calls on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to cover 100 percent of the cost.

Though FEMA assistance typically covers up to 75 percent of emergency and disaster expenses, the FEED Act will waive regulations on this limit.

"If this pandemic has shown us anything, it's the need to innovate," said Representative Rodney Davis, a co-author on the FEED Act, in a statement. "This bill helps utilize our restaurant industry ... in a way that's never been done before."

Tens of thousands of restaurants closed at the start of the pandemic are still recovering. Some will never reopen. The new bill promises to revitalize the industry with funding to rehire staff and expand food distribution infrastructure for vulnerable populations.

"Too many families are going hungry during this pandemic, and it's not because America is running low on food," said Representative Jim McGovern, another co-author, in a statement.

As COVID-19 surges across the nation, food insecurity is increasing. Vulnerable populations including the elderly, young children and communities of color are among the hardest hit, according to multiple reports by the Brookings Institute, Bloomberg and others.

Household food insecurity for mothers with young children surpassed 40 percent in April 2020, a jump from 15.1 percent in April 2018, according to the Brookings Institute.

Congress has already taken a number of steps to address food insecurity during the pandemic. A temporary suspension of certain program requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) allows more people to qualify for federal assistance.

In addition, the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program helps families that qualify for reduced school meals to continue feeding their children while schools are closed. But administrative hurdles currently prevent all those eligible from accessing the benefits.

To minimize these barriers, the FEED Act aims to set a new precedent for emergency response by easing restrictions on government aid, said Representative Mike Thompson of California.

Last year, the Congress member worked with Chef José Andrés of World Central Kitchen to feed hundreds of residents displaced by wildfires in his district. The two joined forces again this year to introduce the new bill with other political leaders.

While the FEED Act won over the House in May as part of the HEROES Act, it still awaits Senate approval. Thompson, who is optimistic about the Bill's prospects, considers it an opportunity for national unity in the face of unprecedented challenges.

Thompson told Food Tank, "All of the things [the FEED Act] addresses: the need for healthy food, for small businesses to keep their doors open, for employees to have a paycheck, and for those paychecks to be spent in the local community, these are things that we can all agree on."

Reposted with permission from Food Tank.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' "Doomsday Clock" — an estimate of how close humanity is to the apocalypse — remains at 100 seconds to zero for 2021. Eva Hambach / AFP / Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

One hundred seconds to midnight. That's how close humanity is to the apocalypse, and it's as close as the world has ever been, according to Wednesday's annual announcement from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a group that has been running its "Doomsday Clock" since the early years of the nuclear age in 1947.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The 13th North Atlantic right whale calf with their mother off Wassaw Island, Georgia on Jan. 19, 2010. @GeorgiaWild, under NOAA permit #20556

North Atlantic right whales are in serious trouble, but there is hope. A total of 14 new calves of the extremely endangered species have been spotted this winter between Florida and North Carolina.

Read More Show Less

Trending

There are new lifestyle "medicines" that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients. Marko Geber / Getty Images

By Yoram Vodovotz and Michael Parkinson

The majority of Americans are stressed, sleep-deprived and overweight and suffer from largely preventable lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Being overweight or obese contributes to the 50% of adults who suffer high blood pressure, 10% with diabetes and additional 35% with pre-diabetes. And the costs are unaffordable and growing. About 90% of the nearly $4 trillion Americans spend annually for health care in the U.S. is for chronic diseases and mental health conditions. But there are new lifestyle "medicines" that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients.

Read More Show Less
Candles spell out, "Fight for 1 point 5" in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany on Dec. 11, 2020, in reference to 1.5°C of Earth's warming. The event was organized by the Fridays for Future climate movement. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Taking an unconventional approach to conduct the largest-ever poll on climate change, the United Nations' Development Program and the University of Oxford surveyed 1.2 million people across 50 countries from October to December of 2020 through ads distributed in mobile gaming apps.

Read More Show Less
A monarch butterfly is perched next to an adult caterpillar on a milkweed plant, the only plant the monarch will lay eggs on and the caterpillar will eat. Cathy Keifer / Getty Images

By Tara Lohan

Fall used to be the time when millions of monarch butterflies in North America would journey upwards of 2,000 miles to warmer winter habitat.

Read More Show Less