Harvey Also a Disaster for Hungry School Children

HOUSTON, TX - The following is a statement from Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a national direct service and advocacy non-profit organization:

“Eighty one percent of Houston public school students come from such low-income families that they are eligible for free- and reduce-price meals. On any given day, Houston public schools provide 224,000 children with free and reduced-priced breakfasts and lunches, according to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).  For all the horrors faced by Houston this week and into the future, add to that the heartbreaking reality of increased child hunger because school didn’t start today. To make matters even worse, because today is near the end of the month, many families that rely on SNAP (formerly called food stamp) benefits, issued near the start of the month, may have run out of benefits, and may not be able to reach area food pantries and soup pantries due to the flooding.

In Harris County, Texas, (where Houston is located), 886,678 people, more than half of whom are children, rely on SNAP to obtain groceries.  Americans have Texas in our thoughts and prayers, but we must do more. I urge anyone who can afford to do so to donate money to the Food Bank of Houston  and other Texas food banks.  Even before Harvey hit, Texas had the 10th worst rate of hunger in the nation, with one out of six Texans living in homes that couldn’t afford enough food in 2015,according to USDA. But the charitable sector can’t fully respond to this massive new crisis – on top of the pre-existing hunger crises in Texas – alone.  I urge the federal, state, and local governments to work together to not only get food charities the help they need, but also to make government commodities and disaster SNAP benefits available easily and widely in the impacted areas.”

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