The First Crucial Step on the Path to Economic Recovery

Interview by Billy Shore

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

How will COVID-19 reshape the fight against hunger? Urban Institute senior fellow Elaine Waxman joins Billy Shore to share her data-driven insights on food insecurity in America during the pandemic. “SNAP is our number one line of defense for food insecurity,” she explains. “One of the persistent gaps has been that even though SNAP has been a great first line of defense for food insecurity, those benefits continue to be inadequate… The biggest thing we need is Congress to increase the maximum benefit for SNAP,” she says.

Waxman also cautions about the extreme health consequences that can result from food insecurity, particularly during a pandemic. “In the U.S., we typically look at food insecurity as a social welfare problem, and it’s not. It’s a public health problem,” she remarks. “What we’ve learned from research over the years is that if you live in a food insecure household, you are more likely to experience poor health outcomes.”

Listen to one of our foremost experts on food insecurity, nutrition and health disparities explain how research and data can help improve anti-hunger programs.

Resources and Mentions:

Elaine Waxman

Senior Fellow, Income and Benefits Policy Center
Elaine Waxman is a senior fellow in the Income and Benefits Policy Center at the Urban Institute. Her expertise includes food insecurity, nutrition and the food assistance safety net, the social determinants of health disparities, and other issues affecting low-income families and communities. Before joining Urban, Waxman was vice president of research and nutrition at Feeding America, where she oversaw research on food insecurity, the intersection of hunger and health, and the circumstances and experiences of individuals seeking charitable food assistance. She also helped develop community-based intervention models to address the needs of low-income, food-insecure families. Waxman has coauthored numerous research and policy reports and articles in scholarly journals, including Applied Economics Perspectives and Policy, Health Affairs, Social Science Review, Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition, Journal of Family and Economic Issues, and Journal of Food Law and Policy. She holds an MPP and a PhD from the University of Chicago, where she is a lecturer.

No Kid Hungry

Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day.

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