Mar 24, 2023 - News

Mesa Mayor John Giles to attend White House food insecurity event

Data: Urban Institute’s Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey; Chart: Axios Visuals

Mesa Mayor John Giles is in Washington, D.C., Friday morning attending a kickoff event for the White House Challenge to End Hunger and Build Healthy Communities.

State of play: President Biden last year announced a goal to eliminate hunger, increase healthy eating and physical activity by 2030.

  • Friday's event is expected to outline a strategy for hitting those benchmarks.

Why it matters: Almost 25% of American adults were food insecure as of December 2022 — up from 20% a year earlier, according to a new Urban Institute study.

  • Latinos and Black American adults had even higher rates of insecurity.

The big picture: Sky-high food price inflation has added financial hardship for families across the country, especially Latinos. That burden is likely to be exacerbated now that pandemic-era enhanced benefits have ended, Axios' Astrid Galván reports.

Zoom in: Giles tells Axios Phoenix he decided to get involved in fighting hunger after being struck by how many young families showed up at city food distribution events during the pandemic.

  • The organization has created a policy checklist for cities to pursue, including increasing summer and after-school meal programs and reducing barriers to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

Parting shot: Mesa-based AzBrainfood, an organization launched in 2009 that provides backpacks of food for hungry Arizona school children on weekends, will pack its one-millionth bag next week.

  • "It's wonderful and terrible at the same time," Giles said.
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