In Hearing with Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, Underwood Advocates for Programs to Support Nutrition Assistance and Improve Maternal Health

April 16, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON—In a hearing with the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) advocated for programs to support nutrition assistance and improve maternal health. In the hearing with Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Underwood discussed her recent visit to the Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva, Illinois which has helped keep Illinois families fed throughout the pandemic. Underwood urged Secretary Vilsack to consider the needs of the Northern Illinois Food Bank and ensure USDA is meeting the increased demand for food assistance when implementing its new food box program.  

“Two weeks ago, I had the honor of visiting the Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva, Illinois. I was able to see up close the truly incredible work their staff and volunteers are doing to keep the communities in my district fed, despite huge challenges and heightened demand due to the pandemic. During my visit, Northern Illinois Food Bank stressed to me how the Farmers to Families Food Box Program has been invaluable for distributing fresh, nutritious, ready-to-load food to our neighbors. Between March 2020 and February 2021, nearly a quarter of the over 100 million meals they distributed were supplied through the Food Box program,” said Underwood.  

Underwood also highlighted the importance of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in addressing racial disparities in maternal and child health outcomes. Underwood discussed her legislation, the Black Maternal Health Momnibus, and the provision that would extend WIC eligibility in the postpartum and breastfeeding periods to ensure new moms have access to nutrition programs that are proven to save lives and improve maternal and child health outcomes. 

Underwood’s remarks can be found here.