Policy Recommendations for the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health

August 18, 2022

The White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health—to be held in September—is an opportunity to catalyze a broad and inclusive anti-hunger movement across the U.S. With this call to action from Congress and the administration, we are on the precipice of real and lasting change to improve the lives and health of millions of people throughout the nation.

As part of funding this conference, Congress has required a report from the White House outlining a national strategy to end hunger in America by 2030. To help inform this anti-hunger road map, Feeding America proposed to the White House a range of policy solutions to meet the needs of people experiencing hunger today and address the root causes of food insecurity so we can end hunger permanently. This work must also focus on eliminating the policies, practices and systems that perpetuate racially and geographically disparate rates of hunger.

The Feeding America network strives to keep people facing hunger at the center of all we do. That is why these policy recommendations include insights from people with lived experience of food insecurity, gathered through our ongoing nationwide community listening initiative: Elevating Voices to End Hunger Together. In the coming months, we will share additional solutions informed by people facing hunger.

Policy Solutions to End Hunger in America by 2030

Strengthen Federal Commodities Programs
  1. Congress should increase funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)—for food purchases as well as storage and distribution costs.
  2. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) should encourage states to reduce barriers to TEFAP eligibility, such as minimizing paperwork for people seeking assistance.
Strengthen and Modernize the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  1. Congress should ensure SNAP benefits are appropriately leveled, based on the Low-Cost Food Plan, for people to buy sufficient amounts of nutritious foods.
  2. Congress should improve the SNAP benefit-taper structure to reduce the “benefits cliff.”
  3. Congress should maintain the dignity of choice for people receiving SNAP benefits.
  4. USDA and Congress should simplify SNAP eligibility and enrollment for older adults, college students, immigrants and other groups who face additional barriers to access.
  5. Congress should improve SNAP enrollment processes by providing more resources for program administration and using technology to streamline the application process.
  6. Congress should remove the time limit on SNAP benefits to better support individuals searching for work. Ending food assistance after three months has not been shown to positively impact employment.
Enhance Federal Child Nutrition Programs
  1. Congress should extend and expand the Summer EBT Program to boost the grocery budgets of families with low incomes during school breaks.
  2. Congress should provide more flexibility for summer meal programs, including the option to serve meals in a non-congregate setting, streamlining program operations and regulations, and lowering the area eligibility requirement to better serve rural communities.
  3. Congress should improve access to and the quality of school meals.
  4. Congress should expand eligibility for and increase participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
Increase Food Recovery and Food Access
  1. Congress and USDA should provide resources and technical support to bolster food rescue programs.
  2. The administration should support innovative efforts, such as mobile food pantries, to serve people living in food deserts.
Support Interventions to Improve Health Outcomes by Increasing Nutritious Food Access
  1. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should work with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to expand coverage for produce prescription programs.
  2. HHS and CMS should support and provide funding for food pantries at medical facilities.
  3. Congress should allow for continued local control and implementation of food box programs.
Address Economic Barriers to Food Security
  1. Congress should make permanent the COVID-era expansion of and improvements to the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit, both of which helped reduce hunger and poverty during the pandemic.
Advance Equity
  1. The administration and Congress should work with tribal stakeholders to increase food security in Native American communities.
  2. Congress should allow Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to participate fully in SNAP.
  3. Congress should address military hunger by removing the basic housing allowance from the SNAP calculation. Congress should also take steps to support veterans facing hunger, such as bolstering food security efforts based at Veterans Affairs hospitals.