SNAP Not Enough: Why White House Is Holding Rare Food Insecurity Conference This Fall

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Samuel Corum/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (12915525n)US President Joe Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 28 April 2022.
Samuel Corum/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock / Samuel Corum/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

President Biden recently announced that for the first time in over 50 years, the White House is hosting a food insecurity conference this September, a White House official told CNN.

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According to the White House, the Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health will aim to address the rate of diabetes, obesity and hypertension among Americans — and expedite efforts to end hunger, improve nutrition and physical activity and reduce diet-related disease by 2030.

“Too many families don’t know where they’re going to get their next meal,” Biden said in a video announcing the conference, as reported by CNN. “Too many empty chairs around the kitchen table because a loved one was taken by heart disease, diabetes or other diet-oriented diseases, which are some of the leading causes of death in our country.”

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The pandemic was “a stark reminder of the need for urgent, sustained action. As more Americans experienced hunger we saw diet-related diseases heighten the risk of severe Covid. It’s time we make real change,” Biden added.

A separate CNN report noted that the cost of food eaten at home jumped 10% over the year ending in March, according to the latest federal data. Additionally, about 65% of the 200 food banks in the Feeding America network saw a larger demand for food assistance in March compared to February.

Food banks are buying about the same amount of food as they did last year, but are paying 40% more, says Feeding America.

Advocates like chef and humanitarian José Andrés, as well as representatives from food companies such as the health care community and local and state governments, are expected the attend the conference this fall.

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Andrés told CNN that these conferences should be held every other year and he’s optimistic that real progress can be made on several issues, including ending food deserts and expanding access to nutritious school lunches.

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Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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