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COVID-19 Is Exacerbating Food Insecurity In Texas, Bexar County. What Help Is Available?

National Guard members pack baked goods. The guard work Monday through Friday at the San Antonio Food Bank.
Paul Flahive | Texas Public Radio
National Guard members pack baked goods. The guard members work weekdays with the San Antonio Food Bank, but they're set to leave in August.

For food banks across Texas, August will be a busy month. Millions are unemployed and food need has skyrocketed due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

An estimated 4.2 million Texans faced food insecurity pre-pandemic and research suggests that need has doubled as the pandemic rages on. Food insecurity disproportionately affects people of color and experiencing it at a young age can lead to lasting health problems.

National Guard support and federal unemployment benefits are set to end at the end of July. How will these changes affect the demand for food across Texas and in the San Antonio area? 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott extended certifications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by six months and pushed the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer application deadline to August 21 for families who lost access to free and reduced-price school meals. 

Who qualifies for these benefits and is it enough to provide real relief? What other steps have been taken to maintain emergency funding for food banks and other assistance programs?

How do Texas food banks plan to keep up with the growing number of families facing food insecurity? Do they have the capacity to meet this need long-term in the wake of COVID-19? How can communities help?

Guests:

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call  833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org  or tweet @TPRSource.

*This program was recorded on Tuesday, July 28.

Kathleen Creedon can be reached at kathleen@tpr.org or on Twitter at @Kath_Creedon
Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.