By Glenn Minnis, The Center Square

 Nearly two out of every three primarily low-and middle-income parents – 64% – say being able to afford food is their biggest challenge, a new Parents Together Action survey highlights. And 65 percent say they’ve had to change the foods they buy, including purchasing fewer fruits and vegetables.

All told, the nonprofit family advocacy group that counts upwards of 3 million members finds that many parents now fear things could get worse before they get better as food prices continue to rise across the country. The results come as federal food assistance that was expanded during the COVID-19 is set to sunset in March.

Over the past three years, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients have received emergency allotments of at least $95 extra per month for food, though those added benefits are set to end by the end of March.

With 41% of respondents saying that they’ve had to work extra hours to make ends meet and an additional 35% insisting they’ve had to go as far as getting a new job, Parents Together Executive Director Ailen Arreaza say the changes are coming as too much too fast for many Americans.

“At a moment when food distribution centers are seeing increases in demand as American families struggle to feed their children, Republican lawmakers are putting families in their political crossfire by threatening to dramatically decrease spending on essential programs like SNAP. The timing of this could not be worse,” she said on the organization’s website. “Further cuts to essential policies helping families to keep food on the table would be unconscionable – and those politicians responsible will pay a political price.”

In the survey taken between Feb. 1 thru Feb. 9, 52% of respondents say they’ve used food banks or similar services to get by and another 36% added that they’ve skipped meals in order to make sure their children could eat.

When quizzed about what can be done to make their lives easier, 63% of respondents said expanding access to programs to help cover the cost of groceries, 46% said lowering the cost of essential goods like diapers, baby formula and period supplies, and 29% said the enactment of paid sick, parental and family leave so families don’t have to choose between caring for their families and making ends meet.


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