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Bread for the World Institute Director Asma Lateef quoted in an article by NBC News about the steep rise in hunger in the United States do to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Among African American households with children, you’re seeing levels of 39 percent saying they’re food insecure,” said Asma Lateef, director of Bread for the World Institute. The number for Latino households with children reporting food insecurity was similar, at 37 percent, compared to 22 percent of white households.
“There are issues around historic systemic racism,” Lateef said, that make nonwhite populations more vulnerable to food insecurity. “They tend to work in jobs that pay less,” she said, including many of the service-sector jobs that have been hardest-hit by the COVID-19-related shutdowns.
“Historically, they've had higher rates of poverty and food insecurity. This crisis is no different,” Lateef said, although she added that anecdotal evidence suggests lower-income workers face greater difficulty securing unemployment insurance because they are more likely to lack access to a computer or high-speed internet.
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In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.