Twitter chat: What it means to be hungry in America

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The PBS NewsHour hosted a Twitter chat on hunger in America 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3. Photo by Flickr/ConwayL.

Nearly 50 million Americans struggle to put food on the the table.

In 2015, 5 percent of all U.S. households — especially those with children under 17 — faced food insecurity; in other words, not knowing where your next meal will come from, or whether you’ll have the money or resources to secure it. The food insecure are not just the impoverished, but also the elderly, the underemployed, students, children and the disabled, says Feeding the Hungry, a nonprofit that fights hunger. And more than 10 percent of Americans are unable to afford food with a traditional job and savings.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was created during the Great Depression to improve access to food. Today, 45.5 million Americans receive SNAP benefits — totaling anything from $126 a month to $256 a month for larger families — to help them access nutritious food.

In May, the Trump administration proposed slashing $193 billion — a 25 percent cut — from the nutrition program as part of larger budget cuts over the next decade. While Congress has yet to pass any budget, placing nutrition assistance programs on the chopping block is a very real threat for millions.

To dig into this topic, the PBS NewsHour hostrf a Twitter chat at 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3 with NewsHour data producer Laura Santhanam (@laurasanthanam), the USDA Economic Research Service’s Alisha Coleman-Jensen (@USDA_ERS) and economist and childhood hunger expert Diane Schanzenbach (@dwschanz).

See a recap of the conversation below —

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