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Nearly 30 million Americans told the Census Bureau they didn't have enough to eat last week

July 31, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Staff and volunteers with 'The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation', distribute food and other goods during its second Dodger Day Drive-Thru food bank for people facing economic hardship in Huntington Park, California on June 18, 2020. (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP) (Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Ruth Webb used to supplement her grocery shopping with a monthly trip to a local food pantry, where she would get fresh produce like potatoes, onions and carrots.

It was the highest number of people reporting insufficient food since the Census started tracking that information in early May. According to the data released Wednesday, about 23. 9 million people said they "sometimes" did not have enough to eat, while 5. 4 million said they "often" did not have enough to eat -- a statement Webb says applies to her.

Before the pandemic, there were an estimated 37. 2 million Americans who were potentially food insecure, according to Katie Fitzgerald, chief operating officer of Feeding America, a national network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs.

"We believe that over the next 12 months we are looking at 54. 3 million Americans who will be estimated to be food insecure," Fitzgerald told CNN.

"Just like Covid-19 has disproportionately impacted people of color, so too have the elevated levels of food insecurity. "

Since the start of the pandemic, Feeding America's food banks have seen a 50% increase in the number of people they're serving compared to the same time last year.

About 52% of Feeding America food banks need more volunteer support, up from 37% in May.

Because of these challenges, and the risk of rising food insecurity, Feeding America wants to see the federal government increase SNAP benefits through the economic downturn and extend the Pandemic EBT, a program introduced this year to assist the families with children who previously relied on free or reduced-price lunches.

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