Food banks across the state of Texas are saying there will be food shortages in the coming months. This is due to the end of three key federal and state programs. This has helped them to respond to the top demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated recession.
Twice as high as before the pandemic, food insecurity is a critical issue. Federal aid is going to all go away at the end of the year, said Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas. This organization coordinates the 21 food banks in the state. Feeding Texas is facing a food cliff. The organization is worried how long they are going to be able to keep up with demand especially without the help of the federal government.
More than 2.5 million households in Texas either sometimes or often did not have enough food to eat in the week prior to the poll. This was according to a November survey. People were either Hispanic or Black in 66 percent of these households.
A looming food shortage is a major worry. Two main unemployment programs that highly expand job assistance and a federal moratorium on evictions are going to potentially at the end of December. Many Texans will lose at least some of their unemployment benefits, if Congress doesn’t act on another pandemic stimulus package.
Outdated and understaffed unemployment insurance office has left countless Texans frustrated. This is because they have tried to navigate a confusing system for getting aid. More than 3.8 million Texans have applied for unemployment benefits since March. Texas is facing another major surge in COVID-19 infections.
Gathering data from food banks across the state, Feeding Texas is currently gathering data. Cole says she is concerned by what she is hearing so far. The largest in Texas, The Houston Food Bank, estates that in the next three to six months, it will need to distribute 20 million pounds of food a month. But, they will be 5 million short. An area that is currently experiencing a devastating outbreak of COVID-19 cases is El Paso. This gap could be 11 million pounds of food each month.