One in four households with children in Rhode Island are food insecure, meaning they struggle to afford adequate food.
As we approach the end of the school year, students from elementary to high school are preparing for final exams. They are hoping for high marks. The best students like to show how much they’ve learned.
What if we asked children to grade us, the adults, on how we’re meeting their basic needs?
One in four households with children in Rhode Island are food insecure, meaning they struggle to afford adequate food. To feed their children, thousands of parents seek food assistance each month at food pantries that are member agencies of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.
If it were not for COVID-19 relief measures passed by Congress, the prevalence of food insecurity would be even higher. Government programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT), National School Lunch and Breakfast, and the Child Tax Credit provided critical aid that prevented widespread hunger.
The question is how much have we learned in the past two years? Let’s see:
The good news is that we have a chance to improve our grades.
In September, the White House will host a Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. This is an opportunity to advocate for SNAP benefit levels to match the real cost of food and for P-EBT benefits to become a regular part of every summer.
In Rhode Island, we can follow the example of Maine and California and make school meals free for all students. And we can urge our Congressional Delegation to work with their colleagues to reinstate the expanded Child Tax Credit for low-income families.
No child should go hungry in Rhode Island and no child needs to. This is one problem that we know how to solve. It’s up to us, the adults, to do better.
Andrew Schiff is CEO of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank