Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced a series of new initiatives aimed at helping communities increase food access by promoting coordination and partnerships between public, private and non-profit partners. Under the Hunger-Free Communities Grants program, USDA will invest $4.98 million in grants to 14 communities in eight states to end hunger and improve the nutrition of low-income Americans. The grants will fund research, planning, and activities designed to improve access to nutrition assistance for those in need.
The grants fund the development and implementation of plans to help communities expand access to healthy food through increased participation in federal nutrition programs and other creative initiatives that meet a community's unique needs. The 14 Grantees are located in New York, New Jersey, California, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Maryland.
In 2009, over 50 million individuals in the United States, or 16.6% of the population, lived in food insecure households including over 17 million children.
"The health and wellbeing of our nation is dependent on the health of our children," Vilsack said. "It's imperative that we make these critical investments in our children, our most vulnerable and valuable resource, to help them reach their full potential."