The Biden administration recently announced a new national strategy to end hunger by 2030 and make healthy foods more available.
Katherine Bauer , associate professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and the Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Food Security at the University of Guelph (2022-23), can discuss aspects of the plan.
"The pandemic response showed us that programs like the expanded child tax credit, which provided families cash assistance to do with as they needed, was one of the most effective interventions to reduce food insecurity among Americans,” she said. "I was extremely pleased to see that our new National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health called for making this program permanent.”
Programs like the child tax credit put power back in the hands of families and provided them the respect and dignity to choose how they could best use the support, she said.
"Individuals who have applied for federal food assistance will quickly tell you what a stressful and sometimes traumatic experience the process is-the paperwork and websites are not accessible and the staff whose job it is to help people apply don’t always treat clients with respect,” Bauer said. "Many times people who have been turned down in the past can’t bring themselves to try again, even if their families are struggling.
"There is also incredible stigma and discrimination against people who use food assistance. I’ve heard so many stories of mothers being sneered at when using their Bridge Card to buy food for their children.”
Bauer said it’s "incredibly important” that the Biden-Harris National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health-an $8 billion effort to address food insecurity and nutrition-related diseases such as diabetes and obesity-calls for reducing barriers to Americans applying for and using programs like SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
"Strategies like cross-checking enrollment with other programs to determine eligibility and allowing for online shopping will reduce a lot of the stress and trauma that comes with getting and using food assistance in this country,” she said.