Produce Marketing Association Comments on the Biden Administration's Summer Food Program
UNITED STATES - The ag industry is gaining a helping hand in its mission to end widespread hunger, as the Biden administration is launching a new summer food program, aiming to feed over 30 million children from low-income families. Another influential ag force, the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) chimed in on this monumental program.
“PMA applauds the Department of Agriculture’s announcement of expanded nutritional aid that will support children into the summer months, enhancing the resources available through other supportive programs like SNAP and WIC,” PMA’s Chief Executive Officer, Cathy Burns, said in a statement sent to ANUK. “We believe that eating more fresh produce is the single most important thing a person can do to live a more vibrant life. This is especially important for children, as we know that proper nutrition is essential to critical development and positive health outcomes. While we see this additional funding as a great first step toward alleviating nutritional insecurity, the next step will be found in learning from our public-private partnerships. We must recognize and adopt best practices of organizations that thoughtfully work to eliminate nutritional insecurity, increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, and help consumers establish life-long healthy eating habits.”
According to a report from NBC News, the administration expects to provide roughly $375 each to around 34 million children once school is out for the summer. This will play an integral role in supporting families who rely on school programs for their children’s meals.
Children under the age of six who qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as well as children who receive free or reduced-price meals, will automatically be enrolled. The news source stated that parents should be receiving Pandemic Electronic Benefit (P-EBT) cards in the coming weeks, which can be used to buy groceries, including fresh fruits and vegetables.
"Congress, through the American Rescue Plan, expanded this program to operate during the summer, which I think was just highly responsive to what we need right now," said Stacy Dean, the Deputy under Secretary of Agriculture for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, according to NBC News. "We know that summer hunger is a problem in normal years, but obviously this year, with heightened food hardship as a result of the pandemic, we're happy to deploy the program this summer."
We applaud PMA and all other industry forces fighting to end widespread hunger through fresh fruits and vegetables.