Deputy Agriculture Secretary Jewel Bronaugh of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is heading to South Carolina today and tomorrow under the Biden-Harris administration’s mission to advance equity, address systemic discrimination and expand support for historically underserved producers.
The program comes in the wake of increasing food insecurity in communities across America — 1 in 7 children in South Carolina suffer from food insecurity, which is defined as the inability to provide the necessary amount of food for all members of a household due to a lack of resources, according to a 2021 report from Feeding America.
Prior to the pandemic, food insecurity among Charleston County kids was decreasing, according to Feeding America. In 2017, 16.2% of kids were food insecure, which went down to 12.2% in 2018 and 11.1% in 2019. But estimates put thee 2020 rate of food insecurity back up to about 16.1%.
The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service bolstered its nutrition assistance programs through a $12 billion investment in food assistance provided by the American Rescue Plan Act. Tuesday’s visit will see Bronaugh at a Charleston elementary school to underscore the USDA’s efforts to ensure American children have access to healthy meals in schools across the nation.
“The pandemic has placed extraordinary stress on American families, and millions have struggled to put enough nutritious food on their tables,” USDA deputy under secretary for food, nutrition and consumer services Stacy Dean said in a statement. “Over the past year, we have taken numerous actions to address this immediate, urgent reality while also working toward the longer-term goal of helping this country’s nutrition support system build back better than ever before.”
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