Velazquez Reintroduces Bill that Enlists Restaurants in Anti-Hunger Effort During Pandemics
Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) reintroduced the Anti-Hunger Pandemic Recovery Act. This bill will establish a temporary grant program that would provide community-based nonprofit feeding and anti-hunger groups with up to $500,000 in funding to partner with restaurants to expand meal access and delivery for low-income and vulnerable populations during a pandemic or health emergency.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our most vulnerable communities across the country suffered the greatest hardship,” said Velázquez. “No one should have to worry about putting food on the table to feed their families, especially during a public health crisis. This legislation will provide nonprofits and local restaurants with grants targeted to help our working families around the country.”
New York's restaurant industry employs over 300,000 people and produces about $50 billion per year in revenue that was greatly curtailed as restaurants were forced to close or drastically scale back operations. When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, charitable organizations saw a decline in volunteerism as individuals, and particularly older people, went into self-quarantine. Likewise, nonprofits saw a reduction in donations as the virus swept through our nation, reverberating through the broader economy. This came when demand for free and low-cost food soared as Americans grappled with job loss and a decline in retirement funds’ values.
This legislation would provide $2 billion in grants to nonprofit and charitable organizations across the nation. These funds would help a public-private partnership to meet the food security needs of kids, families, and the elderly in rural and hard to reach communities, including families in crisis housing. Under Velázquez’s bill, nonprofits and antihunger groups will have the ability to hire restaurant staff to store, prepare, cook, and help package, serve, or deliver meals to vulnerable populations during a public health emergency. This would provide an economic boost for restaurant industry workers, while allowing them to help address vital community needs.
In addition to Velázquez, the bill is cosponsored by: Bennie G. Thompson, Nanette Diaz Barragan, Mary Gay Scanlon, Chuy García, Ed Case, Alan Lowenthal, Albio Sires, Yvette Clarke.