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Hunger Is The Norm For Millions Of U.S. Families, Children. How Can We Build A More Food-Secure Future In The Wake Of COVID-19?

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Volunteer hands bread to resident economically affected by COVID 19 pandemic during San Antonio Food Bank distribution in Texas
Adrees Latif/REUTERS
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A volunteer hands bread to a resident, affected by the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, during a San Antonio Food Bank distribution in San Antonio, Texas, U.S., July 17, 2020.

As the pandemic persists, millions in the U.S. are out of work and struggling to put food on the table. Demand continues to overwhelm food banks and pantries across the country.

Food insecurity — defined as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life — is not a new problem for many Americans.

In 2019, 35.2 million households were food insecure, but that number is projected to jump to 50.4 million by the end of 2020 — higher than the peak of the 2007 Great Recession.

The ongoing public health crisis worsened an already dire situation for food insecure families, including an "unprecedented number of children" who aren't regularly getting enough to eat.

What are the root causes of hunger? Who is most affected? Where do they live?

What laws, programs and policies are currently in place to address food insecurity? Why are families still falling through the cracks?

Hunger has increased, poverty has risen, and the pandemic is not over yet. What actions could be taken now to affect real change?

What can be done to move the needle toward a consistently food-secure future for everyone in the U.S.?

What are the biggest challenges when it comes to reforming systems that allow for the perpetuation of hunger in America?

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*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, December 23.