Food Insecurity | KUNR

Food Insecurity

News Brief

Researchers say the Biden administration’s plan to permanently boost the food aid program SNAP, announced this week, is a significant step in addressing the Mountain West's deepening economic inequality.

Beginning in October, people receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits will see an average increase of $36.24 per month, or $1.19 per day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A detailed illustration of the Raider’s stadium. A large stadium is surrounded by trees, roads and parked cars.
Courtesy of the State of Nevada

Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021.

A screenshot of a Zoom call featuring eleven speakers.
Screenshot / Our Town Reno via Facebook

Homeless advocates in Reno say the pandemic has only exacerbated problems for unsheltered individuals in the region.

 

Most students enrolled half-time or more in college typically aren't eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), sometimes known as food stamps. But temporary changes to the federal program are allowing some low-income students to take advantage during the pandemic.

People are driving up to a mobile food bank to pick up food.
Aramelle Wheeler / Food Bank of Northern Nevada

The pandemic's economic toll has left many in the Mountain West struggling to feed their families. In fact, Nevada and New Mexico have some of the highest rates of child food insecurity in the country, according to a report published last fall by the nonprofit Feeding America.

The Food Bank for Larimer County’s warehouse in Loveland looks like a factory assembly line. People are busy preparing and packing provisions for when the doors open in an hour.

"Cookies, protein bars, coffee – a little of everything," says volunteer Ruben Marez. "I kind of like to mix and match."

Every year Marez travels to volunteer with the Red Cross and help with disaster relief. This year, he decided he was needed close to home and began volunteering at the onset of the pandemic.

Una mujer se toma una foto estilo “selfie” en su coche. Lleva mascarilla y bolsas de alimentos gratuitos para repartir en  las casas de familias que necesitan la comida.
Carolina Juárez / Communities In Schools

Read in English. 

Debido a la COVID-19, la necesidad de alimentos gratuitos ha aumentado en el norte de Nevada.  

Communities in Schools o Comunidades en las Escuelas, trabaja directamente con familias que tienen hambre. Es una organización nacional sin fines de lucro que ayuda a estudiantes a ser exitosos en las escuelas. En estos momentos también mantiene las despensas de alimentos en aproximadamente 10 escuelas públicas en Reno y Sparks, en asociación con el Banco de Alimentos del norte de Nevada.

A new report shows that the COVID-19 recession has households in the Mountain West facing high hardship rates, especially when it comes to rent and food security.

 


Una mujer desempaca una caja de tomates para una distribución de productos frescos.
El Banco de Alimentos del Norte de Nevada

Read in English.

Después de varios meses de pandemia, el Banco de Alimentos del Norte de Nevada sigue recibiendo un número récord de personas que necesitan alimentos gratuitos. 

Como muchas despensas de alimentos están ubicadas en las escuelas públicas, la disponibilidad de esta comida durante el verano es diferente en comparación al resto del año.

Carolina Juárez runs the Glenn Duncan Elementary food pantry. When COVID-19 it, she started delivering food to the homes of families in need. This self portrait shows a masked Carolina in her car, with bags of food piled in the back seat.
Carolina Juárez / Communities In Schools

Lee en español. 

Communities in Schools works directly with families experiencing hunger. With the overall mission of helping students stay in school, the organization staffs ten food pantries located in schools in Reno and Sparks.

Carolina Juárez, works for the nonprofit as a bilingual site coordinator at Glenn Duncan Elementary School. In this audio postcard, she shares what it’s like to support students and run a food pantry.

A woman unpacks a crate of cherry tomatoes for a distribution of fresh produce.
Food Bank of Northern Nevada

Lee en español. 

Several months into the pandemic, the Food Bank of Northern Nevada is seeing record numbers of people using their food assistance services. With many food pantries housed in schools, food availability over the summer is different than during the rest of the year.   

A little boy in an orange shirt walks up to a grab-and-go meal site at an elementary school in Salt Lake City, Utah. A school worker wearing a mask uses a bullhorn to let kitchen staff know the boy's there. Then a staffer sets a bag lunch and some extra strawberries on a table and backs away.

 


Una mujer dando comida destras de una ventana
Aramelle Wheeler / Banco de Alimentos del norte de Nevada

El Banco de Alimentos del norte de Nevada ha visto un aumento en la cantidad de personas que necesitan alimentos durante el cierre de negocios impuestos por el estado. Hay dificultades dentro de la organización para alimentar a todos que lo necesitan.

People are loading food into a car at a food distribution site.
Aramelle Wheeler / Food Bank of Northern Nevada

Rising food insecurity has been one outcome of the job losses associated with COVID-19 non-essential business closures. The Food Bank of Northern Nevada is seeing a significant increase in the number of people who need help. KUNR’s Stephanie Serrano sat down with Spokesperson Jocelyn Lantrip to understand some of the challenges the Food Bank is facing.

Thousands of Mountain West residents who were slated to be kicked off food stamps will retain access to benefits next month. That's after a federal judge blocked a Trump administration rule mandating work requirements for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, or SNAP.

White cans with blue ones in the center in the shape of a platapus.
Holly Hutchings

Whether it’s an octopus or the pyramids of Giza, 12 teams of builders are using canned good to bring hunger awareness to the community through the art of “can sculpting.” 

A row of canned food on a shelf.
Lucia Starbuck.

Due to rising rents and tuition costs, there is an increasing need for easier access to affordable food and other daily necessities for students at the University of Nevada, Reno. Student contributor Lucia Starbuck explores a resource on campus called Pack Provisions that provided food or clothing to more than 600 visitors during the fall semester.

 

Anh Gray

People who are considered rent burdened spend roughly a third or more of their income on housing. This leaves many families with less for other essentials like food or healthcare. Reno Public Radio’s Anh Gray reports there’s a program that is helping low-income people battling illnesses get the nutrition they need.

High rent prices in Reno are placing many people in financially dire situations. With more of their income going to housing, families may have less to spend on essentials, like food. Our reporter Anh Gray visits a local food pantry to find out how the housing crunch is affecting people in the community.

Anh Gray

About one in seven Nevadans struggle with hunger. The Food Bank of Northern Nevada—or FBNN—distributes millions of pounds of food each year. The organization’s President and CEO Al Brislain says about 70 percent of the families they’re serving live in poverty.

“I mean we’re seeing some really good jobs coming into Reno, and that’s great, but people who don’t have a skill, if they’re on the working end of a shovel, they’re not making that much,” Brislain explains. “And so if they’ve got a couple of kids or a single mom that’s working part-time in a retail shop or something like that, the money that they have, often times the ends don’t meet.”