Following yesterday’s town hall with Chef José Andrés, Vice President Biden is calling on President Trump to work with Congress to enact the bipartisan FEMA Empowering Essential Deliveries (FEED) Act. As a result of the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis — made worse by President Trump’s failure to act — it is projected that one in six American households will experience food insecurity by the end of this year. Americans are lined up at food banks across the country. At the same time, producers have to dump food that used to go to restaurants, schools, and other big food purchasers, and restaurants are shuttered and laying off workers across the country. The FEED Act is a critical step to address the hunger crisis.
Hunger today isn’t about scarcity — it’s about a massive failure in leadership. This moment demands an effective leader who can implement bold solutions, instead of providing false choices. A leader who will harness the restaurant industry to help get food to those who need it, and help get millions of laid-off workers back on the job. Who will bolster food assistance to stimulate the economy. And, who will ensure farmers can get their food to plates and also protect the workers that are essential links in the supply chain.
Chef José Andrés is filling this leadership hole created by the White House and, through his non-profit the World Central Kitchen, solving this problem in communities across the country. The Chef’s innovative approach pays restaurants to prepare meals for hungry individuals. This allows restaurants to hire back their employees, keep buying food from producers who would have no other purchaser if restaurants were shuttered, and ensure that people across the country have nutritious food to eat.
With a partner in the White House, this strategy can be scaled up nationally. The bipartisan FEMA Empowering Essential Deliveries (FEED) Act would temporarily allow the federal government to pay restaurants to prepare meals for the hungry without requiring cash-strapped states to provide any matching dollars.
This proposal builds on Vice President Biden’s call for the Trump Administration to support proposals to strengthen food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and ensure access to more nutritious offerings. If Biden was President today, he would increase SNAP benefits by 15% during the deepening recession, and temporarily provide low-income families with about $100 per month in extra nutritional support.