AceShowbiz - Angelina Jolie wrote to U.S. congressional leaders calling on them to increase assistance to families hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The spread of the virus and resulting lockdown measures have put tens of millions out of work and closed schools, where many kids receive free meals, prompting congress to approve a $15 billion increase to food assistance benefits.
However, the actress, who has worked on initiatives aimed at stopping hunger across the globe as a leading advocate for refugees and human rights, wrote to America's top politicians last month, April 2020 claiming more action is needed.
"Many of the most vulnerable children in America have missed nearly 740 million meals at school, due to closure resulting from the rapid spread of coronavirus," she wrote in the letter, obtained by USA Today. "With parents facing lost jobs and wages, many of these children are going hungry."
The star went on to demand congressional chiefs, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell strengthen America's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) programme getting meals to the poorest.
About half of all U.S. public schoolchildren normally rely on free or reduced-price meals - but services have been reduced by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic despite efforts to continue assistance via schools and non-profit organisations.
Before sending her letter, Angelina discussed food assistance in a video conference call with food bank organisers and leaders of the No Kid Hungry campaign aimed at alleviating food poverty among children in the U.S.
"I knew that there were problems in America. I knew that there was poverty," the "Maleficent" star told the group, according to USA Today. "I could not believe when I realised how many school children in America were dependent on a meal to not go hungry. I was so disgusted that we have gotten to this point as a country."