Biden Gets $8 Billion to Fight Hunger, With Help for Initiatives From Google, Walgreens

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Biden Gets $8 Billion to Fight Hunger, With Help for Initiatives From Google, Walgreens
Credit: © Reuters.

(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden announced more than $8 billion in private- and public-sector commitments to help combat hunger, casting the issue as one that should unite all Americans regardless of political affiliation. 

“This is something we should be all rallying the whole country to work on together,” Biden said Wednesday at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. 

“Because in every country in the world, in every state in this country, no matter what else divided us, if a parent cannot feed a child, there’s nothing else that matters to that parent,” he added. 

Among the companies taking part in initiatives are Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ: WBA ) Inc., Tyson Foods Inc (NYSE: TSN ). and Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) Inc.’s Google. 

The commitments cover a wide range of efforts from “philanthropic contributions and in-kind donations to community-based organizations,” as well as investments in new businesses, according to the White House. 

More than half of the total commitments will go toward philanthropic efforts focused on promoting nutrition and exercise, while $2.5 billion will be funneled to startups developing innovative solutions to fight food insecurity.

Read more: US Aims to Shift ‘Healthy’ Food Labels as It Fights Malnutrition

Company Efforts 

Google will introduce new features to help Americans access health-care and public food benefits, the White House said, while Tyson pledged to invest $225 million in anti-hunger charities and an additional $20 million in nutrition education programs. Walgreens has promised to increase the selection of fresh foods in its stores by 20% by 2030, and to work with local distributors to make a priority of helping under-served communities.

Hunger has been spreading among Americans with steady but low-paying jobs, and the situation threatens to worsen as the US Federal Reserve raises interest rates and the economy slows. 

Biden has established a goal of ending hunger by 2030. Wednesday’s conference is focused on reducing food insecurity and diet-related diseases, such as obesity and diabetes, and includes non-profit, business and government leaders. 

The event is the first of its kind in more than half a century, following a 1969 forum convened by President Richard Nixon that led to expansions of federal food stamp and school lunch programs.

“That single conference, and the laws it inspired, led a transformational change that has helped millions of Americans live healthier lives for generations,” Biden said of Nixon’s original forum on hunger.

(Updates throughout with Biden’s remarks at conference)

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© Bloomberg. US President Joe Biden speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, US, on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. Elderly and disabled Americans on Medicare will pay less in monthly premiums and deductibles next year after the program spent less than expected on drugs and other services in 2022, especially a pricey new medicine for Alzheimer's.

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