In the U.S., Hispanic households experience hunger at rates that are higher than the national average. According to USDA research, one out of every four Hispanic households in the U.S. is food insecure, compared with a national average of 15 percent. Hispanics also participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly the Food Stamp Program) at rates that are lower than the national average.
To call attention to this need to better reach the Latino population with access to nutrition assistance programs, USDA leadership participated in the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) annual conference in Washington DC from July 23-25. President Obama also gave a keynote speech at the conference, which had about 2,000 attendees.
“USDA is committed to ensuring that all Latino families in the United States have access to nutritious foods, which will help them stay healthy, active and able to win their future,” said Secretary Vilsack, who spoke at a town hall session about childhood hunger and obesity.
Lisa Pino, Deputy Administrator for SNAP at the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), spoke on a conference panel about USDA’s efforts to decrease hunger among Latinos and remove barriers to accessing the programs through policy guidance about non-citizen eligibility for SNAP, grants, outreach efforts focused on improving program access for Latinos, and other activities.
During the panel session, NCLR also shared a new video called “Comer Bien” (“Eating Well”), which includes stories about challenges some Latinos face providing their children with nutritious food. FNS also has several resources in Spanish to help connect Latinos to nutrition assistance programs including SNAP and the Summer Food Service Program.
“It is important that Latino families know that USDA programs can make the difference in providing good food on the table,” Pino said. “That’s why it’s imperative to work with partners like NCLR to reach more people in need and help them access critical nutrition benefits.”