This is a challenging time for many Americans when access to food is more essential than ever. Thankfully, USDA’s vital partners are helping feed those in need during the coronavirus pandemic. And for that, we couldn’t be more grateful. To support these important efforts, USDA is stepping up to provide over $6 billion worth of food and administrative resources in response to the crisis.
At USDA we’re applying multiple approaches to empower state agencies, local food banks and nationwide feeding networks. While USDA Foods represent only a portion of the resources food banks distribute each year, we are stepping up to provide more in this trying time. We’re distributing American grown products directly to local communities in need, approving local delivery of USDA Foods across the country, and helping food banks access $850 million in Congressional coronavirus relief on top of standard funding for the year.
Through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), we support the needs of states and food banks experiencing unprecedented demand, supplementing the supplies they receive through donations and fundraising to help keep our communities fed, healthy and strong. In addition to TEFAP, we have provided short-term emergency support through Disaster Household Distributions to 14.4 million people in the last 4 months.
USDA is also standing up new programs to better serve local communities. Through the new Farmers to Families Food Box Program, USDA has delivered 40 million food boxes in support of American farmers and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic since deliveries began on May 15. The department also launched and expanded the Meals-to-You public-private partnership, which feeds low-income children impacted by COVID-19 school closures in rural areas.
We are so proud of the work we have done to support farmers, food banks and families during this difficult time. But no matter the challenge, we remain committed and will do all we can to deliver on our mission to “Do Right and Feed Everyone.”
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I am a pediatrician in Sacramento, California and I am writing to urge you to extend the WIC waivers, which are currently set to expire September 30, 2020. We are still in the midst of a pandemic; an extension will allow WIC to continue to operate virtually, which allows them to enroll new families that are dealing with financial hardship during this crisis. WIC provides vital nutrition to pregnant mothers and young children.
In my daily practice I see children and families affected by food insecurity. In particular, I am concerned about first time mothers with new infants being able to access formula. The waivers allowed WIC to increase access to formulas.
Again, as a pediatrician, I urge you to extend the WIC waivers, at least through 2021. Children across the country are in need of your continued action. Thank you for working so hard to keep our children fed.