Biden administration brainstorms how to help families 'stretch food dollars'

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Biden administration says it is rolling out new public-private initiatives to help Americans confronting high food prices.

“To make sure that everyone is fed and everyone is fed well,” Secretary of Agriculture Tim Vilsack said.

More than 34 million Americans, including 9 million children, are considered food insecure, according to the federal government. Administration officials met with anti-hunger groups at the White House Friday to talk about how to tackle the problem head-on.

“Figuring out ways in which we can help families stretch that food dollar. Looking for ways in which we can create what are called double-buck programs where basically every dollar you spend as a SNAP family gets matched by a nonprofit,” Vilsack said.

The Biden administration this month ended pandemic-era increases to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program food stamp benefits. Vilsack said that at the same time, his agency has ramped up resources for food banks, increased SNAP benefits to meet inflation and most recently extended funding for summer feeding programs.

“So that youngsters don’t have a gap between school meal that they get 181 days out of the year and the summer months,” Vilsack said.

“If those summer programs aren’t intact, then we’re in real trouble,” Scranton, Pennsylvania, Mayor Paige Cognetti said.

She said the Friday meeting at the White House was productive.

“DoorDash was there talking about the way that they can help deliver food from food banks,” Cognetti said. “There’s the larger grocery stores that want to help with the food deserts. … We do have a food desert in the south side of our community. We’re looking for a partner right now to figure out how we can build a grocery store there.”

The White House has set a goal to end hunger in the U.S. by 2030.

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