The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, signed into law on March 11th, made key investments into foundational safety net programs that provide hunger relief for vulnerable communities across the US, but also set the stage for further grassroots advocacy needs in the months to come.
Importantly, the legislation significantly strengthens the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit – a move that is projected to reduce childhood poverty by roughly half across the US. It also authorized an additional $4 billion in United States Department of Agriculture programs to enhance the food supply infrastructure that supports nonprofits who distribute food to the community.
Other enhancements provided a welcome, albeit temporary relief from COVID-19 fallout in the months ahead. the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which comprises the backbone of Federal hunger relief efforts for families with small children and elders in the household, received a remarkable 15% boost – but these funds were only authorized through September of 2021. Similarly, summer meal waivers were extended from June through September, providing more nutritious meals to children who have gone hungry without school meal program access.
However, with an estimated 1 in 8 Americans projected to need direct food assistance at least through the end of the year, and the Emergency Food Assistance Program in need of additional support to prevent a 40% cut to food being moved from farmers to families in need – the Food Lifeline grassroots advocacy team will be working around the clock to make sure Congress hears from their constituents about the importance of ongoing support for hunger relief systems. If you’d like to join the team that will be making a real difference this year, click here to join our growing squad of advocacy volunteers.