The coronavirus pandemic has shined a bright light on the hunger crisis happening across the United States. 50 million Americans may experience food insecurity because of COVID-19. Our food banks have seen a more than 50% increase in demand, with 4 in 10 people turning to these resources for the very first time. All told, it will take roughly 8 billion meals to meet this increased demand.
Make no mistake: COVID-19 has worsened the hunger crisis, but it didn’t cause it. Thirty-five million Americans were dealing with food insecurity before this health emergency hit. More than 10 million children already lived in households facing food insecurity. And no community was immune, from densely-populated cities to the most rural parts of our country.
Unless we act and act boldly, this epidemic in food insecurity will persist long after the coronavirus has passed. We must seize this opportunity to end the hunger crisis once and for.
I’ve always said that hunger is a political condition. We have the resources, and we know what it takes. We just have to muster the political will to end it.
As Chairman of the House Rules Committee, I have a unique platform to examine this issue, talk with experts, find solutions, and push for action.
I’m going to spend the next few months doing exactly that. It is my hope we will develop ideas that Congress and the Biden administration can act on to ensure we are tackling this problem legislatively and administratively because this is truly an all-hands-on-deck moment.
I know the best solutions don’t necessarily come from inside the walls of Congress. Countless people have dedicated their lives to this cause. Many local communities — from elected officials to organizations — have found solutions that could work nationwide if brought to scale. And many people have experiences confronting hunger that decision-makers need to hear.
Whether you’re an educator with exciting new research, an organization with an innovative concept, or a family on the front-lines, your voice deserves to be heard. And it will help guide us in this effort.
This crisis wasn’t created overnight and it won’t be solved that way, either. But I believe public service is about tackling big ideas, not allowing them to fester.
Together, we can finally end hunger now.