skip to main content

Friday, June 9, 2023

play newscast audioPlay

Former President Donald J. Trump first ever to face federal charges in 7 count indictment; the Supreme Court strikes down Alabama's Congressional Maps; Canadian wildfires affect the health of humans and wildlife.

play newscast audioPlay

The Supreme Court upholds a key provision of the Voting Rights Act over Alabama redistricting, smoky skies could spell EPA trouble for some states, and President Biden calls on Congress to pass LGBTQ+ protections.

play newscast audioPlay

Rural communities launch projects with funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a study says rural transgender adults feel less supported than those in urban areas, and a summer road trip could mean majestic scenic byways or a sprinkling of donut shops.

Food Insecurity Looms Amid Inflation, End of COVID Era Supports

play audio
Play

Tuesday, December 27, 2022   

The issue of charity around meals is a common theme during the holidays, though this year the prospect of a sudden drop-off in federal benefits has hunger advocates worried.

The federal government's response to the pandemic saw Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits increased, so anyone in the program got the maximum benefit for their household size. The likely end of the current federal health emergency sometime next year will bring with it a reduction in food support for thousands of Marylanders.

The increased benefits have been one of the more enduring parts of federal government stimulus programs since the pandemic began.

Michael J. Wilson, director of Maryland Hunger Solutions, said the state has seen a large economic benefit from the program.

"Over the course of the pandemic more than $2 billion dollars has been spent in Maryland through the SNAP program," Wilson pointed out. "And if you think of the impact that has not just on low-income folks, but on grocery stores, on farmers markets, on corner stores, it's infused our entire economy."

Maryland Hunger Solutions estimates every dollar in SNAP benefits spent in the community generates $1.85 in local economic activity.

The SNAP program is revised in the Farm Bill, which is approved every five years and is due to be negotiated in Congress next year. Wilson sees the upcoming debate over the bill as an opportunity for advocates to educate legislators on issues of food insecurity and equity.

One example he cites is how SNAP recipients cannot buy a hot pizza or rotisserie chicken in a grocery store, but could buy frozen ones. Wilson wants to see the policy changed as it does not take into account people in different circumstances.

"There are some folks who may be seniors, who may be disabled, or who may be homeless and to tell them you have to buy the frozen chicken, and not the rotisserie chicken doesn't recognize the changes that exist in society or in the retail sector," Wilson contended.

In November the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated the level of food price inflation at grocery stores to be at least 11% in 2022. While the forecast predicts inflation slowing in 2023, they anticipate grocery prices will still rise another 3% next year, and Wilson added people in need will continue to rely on a spirit of generosity.

"I want that spirit of charity to extend beyond just the holidays," Wilson remarked. "I want that spirit of charity to focus on how we can deal with food insecurity in a sustainable way, and not just a single meal, so that we can make sure that we really are focusing on addressing food insecurity."


get more stories like this via email
Guns to Gardens volunteers in New Hampshire are working against what are considered among the weakest gun laws in the country. State law does not require background checks on all gun sales, or limit access to firearms by people in crisis. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Community volunteers in New Hampshire are turning unwanted firearms into garden tools as part of a nationwide effort to reduce gun violence. Under …


Social Issues

play sound

Parents and educators in the Houston Independent School District said they are all for improving schools but do not believe a state takeover by an une…

Social Issues

play sound

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower-court ruling on a 5-to-4 vote Thursday, deciding Alabama's 2022 congressional maps violated the Voting Rights …


Alaska has more than 322 million acres of public lands, more than three times the acreage of the entire state of California. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

The Bureau of Land Management has announced a $161 million investment in habitat and wildland restoration projects in 11 western states. Alaska is …

Environment

play sound

As smoke from Canadian wildfires blankets New York and much of the East Coast, it's causing a wide range of health effects - and not just for people…

Connexus Energy operates a 'solar meadow' at its headquarters in Ramsey, Minn. (Photo courtesy of Fresh Energy)

Environment

play sound

By Elizabeth Hewitt for Reasons to be Cheerful.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Minnesota News Connection reporting for the Solutions Journalism Net…

Social Issues

play sound

To fight such pressing issues as housing shortages and increasing crime rates in cities across the country, many of the nation's mayors are taking …

Health and Wellness

play sound

As part of Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month, mental-health advocates in Iowa are sharing information about Alzheimer's and say two new drugs …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021