Feeding Texas Calls for State and Federal Action to Address Massive Increase in Food Insecurity Across Texas and the Nation

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For Immediate Release: 10/27/2023
Contact: Wesley Story

Feeding Texas Calls for State and Federal Action to Address Massive Increase in Food Insecurity Across Texas and the Nation

USDA’s latest report shows nearly 1 in 6 Texas households are food insecure.

TEXAS – This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its annual study measuring food security in the U.S., Household Food Security in the United States in 2022. The report shows that Texas has the second-highest rate of food insecurity at 15.5%, more than 4% higher than the U.S. average.

According to the report, food insecurity increased significantly across the nation from 2021 to 2022. The number of people living in food insecure households in 2022 increased to 44 million, including 13 million children. This is an increase of 31% for all individuals and 44% for children from the previous year, the highest rate and number of individuals and children since 2014 and the largest one-year increase in food insecurity since 2008.

In Texas, nearly 1 in 6 households are food insecure. This means that more than 1.7 million families–including approximately 4.6 million Texans–are at risk for hunger.

“Behind these sobering statistics are our neighbors struggling to put food on the table, pay rent, and keep the lights on,” said Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas, the state association of food banks. “These staggering numbers reflect the growing need food banks are seeing in communities across our state. The end of pandemic-era relief efforts, inflation and the high cost of food is making it harder for Texans to afford basic necessities.”

The Feeding Texas network is calling for action at both the state and federal level to address this increase in food insecurity. We are advocating for:

  1. Resources and flexibility to fix delays in processing SNAP applications: The end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) has put tremendous strain on staff and resources at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), creating an overwhelming backlog of SNAP applications. This means many Texans are facing wait times of 100+ days before being approved for food assistance. HHSC is a long-time partner of Feeding Texas and we are working closely with the agency to support Texans applying for benefits, alleviate strain on HHSC staff, and connect families caught in the backlog to food bank resources. Both food banks and HHSC will need additional resources and flexibility to tackle these challenges and prevent more Texans from going hungry.
  2. A strong Farm Bill with increased investment in SNAP and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP): Congress has an opportunity to pass legislation that could reduce food insecurity with the 2023 Farm Bill. While SNAP is the backbone of hunger relief in our nation, TEFAP is the cornerstone of emergency food assistance, accounting for over 20% of our network’s food supply. We urge elected officials to reauthorize a bipartisan Farm Bill package that strengthens SNAP and TEFAP while protecting investments already made in these critical hunger-fighting programs.
  3. Summer EBT implementation in 2024: Summer EBT is a new summer feeding program that will allow low-income families with children to receive additional benefits during the summer months, when childhood hunger typically spikes due to the loss of school meals. Feeding Texas estimates that 2.9 million Texas students could receive approximately $348 million in food aid under the new program. We urge HHSC leadership to allocate the staff and IT resources to implement Summer EBT in 2024. Texas must affirm its participation by the federal deadline of January 1, 2024.

“It is unacceptable that hunger is so deep and persistent in a nation as wealthy as ours. We have the tools and resources to end hunger, but our vision of a hunger-free Texas can only be realized through policy change and collective action from the public, private and charitable food sectors,” Cole said. “Food banks alone cannot end hunger.”


Feeding Texas is a network of 20 food banks and leads a unified effort for a hunger-free Texas. Learn more and find your local food bank at www.feedingtexas.org.

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