Interesting timing on this article.
A local radio station is running a holiday charity event where you can call in and pay money for them to play any song. The more outside of the station format, the more they ask you to pay. All money raised goes to the Boston Food bank I believe. They had someone on from the charity that said for every $10 dollars donated they are able to provide 30 healthy meals.
Got me to thinking...
If a billion is a thousand millions, then the federal government could give 20 food shelters in each state a million dollars. This would be 6 million healthy meals in each state.
A quote from a Huffpo article states:
"Feeding America did not interview people who use food programs outside of its own network. The USDA said last year there were 49 million Americans who lack consistent access to enough food, suggesting there are millions in the U.S. experiencing hunger who aren't using food pantries or soup kitchens served by the organization. "
Lets call this 50 million or 1 million per state. At 1 billion dollars we could feed each of these people almost a meal a day for a week.
If we spent 50 billion in this way we could feed them 1 healthy meal a day for roughly the entire year.
Looking at the 2016 budget for the SNAP program...
"SNAP benefits cost $70.9 billion in fiscal year 2016 and supplied roughly 44.2 million Americans (14% of the population) with a monthly average of $125.51 per person in food assistance."
and then for 2019
US Food Stamps Spending for 2019 - Charts
Table of US Government Spending by function, Federal, State, and Local: Pensions, Healthcare, ... Food Stamp spending for FY2019 is budgeted at $84 billion.
It would seem that these numbers are just going up, if we took all the food assistance programs we have and funneled those funds directly to facilities that can make the most of bulk purchasing we could ensure that everyone who was in need could have access to a healthy meal virtually twice a day. This seems MUCH more effective than the impact of ~125 per person per month.
Just a thought experiment, there are a lot of implementation details to be certain, but it seems that the potential for better results could be had by providing healthy prepared meals rather than assistance funds.