Helping Students Understand Food Insecurity and COVID-19

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Thursday, October 8, 2020
food insecurity and covid-19 in desperate times

   

How Has COVID-19 Affected Food Insecurity?

President Donald Trump’s decision Tuesday to break off talks on a coronavirus relief bill affects millions of Americans who are finding it difficult to afford their basic needs. Nearly half of the 22 million jobs lost during the pandemic have yet to be recovered. Hunger, food insecurity and need are still rising in many parts of the country. Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions below. For a transcript of the video, click here

 

 

  • As many as 18 million Americans have reported to the Census Bureau that they and their households don’t always have enough to eat (also known as food insecurity), including 14% of adults with children.
  • The problem is especially acute in communities that are facing other crises, such as Gulf communities in the southeast affected by hurricane season.
  • Trump called off relief bill negotiations with Congress until after the election. He says he wants to focus on getting Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett confirmed with the weeks remaining until the election.
  • Trump has signaled that he’d support smaller, targeted bills such as an airline bailout or some one-time direct payments.
  • Democrats are pushing for a more comprehensive bill that would also cover holes in the economy due to COVID-19 such as enormous budget gaps with state and local governments that could lead to more layoffs and failing essential services including schools.

Food Insecurity and COVID-19 Discussion

Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

  • Who is being interviewed for this piece and what is his expertise?
  • What are some of the ways COVID-19 has affected people’s jobs and income?
  • When and where have negotiations taken place for another COVID relief bill?
  • Why do some think a new relief bill is especially urgent now?
  • How can people who have lost jobs and savings find food to feed their families?

Then have students share with the class or through a Learning Management System (LMS).

Focus Questions

  1. What do you think are the best measures the federal government can take to ensure everyone has enough to eat?
  2. Why do you think Congress and the White House are unable to agree on a relief bill?

Media Literacy: Who else might you want to hear from to better understand why so many in the U.S. are going without food?

Dig Deeper: How do Congress and the White House negotiate over bills such as an additional relief bill? Use this resource from iCivics to learn more about the sometimes contentious negotiations that go into passing important bills. Note: You’ll need to register for a free iCivics account in order to access the lesson plan. In this lesson, students will:

  • Simulate the law creation process.
  • Understand the importance of personal and party values when crafting a bill.
  • Learn how the creation of laws requires compromise and negotiation.

 

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Extra.

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