With millions of Americans facing economic peril as the coronavirus pandemic rages and government assistance dries up, many are increasingly turning to theft for food and essential items.

Retailers and law enforcement agencies say shoplifting is on the rise, particularly for items such as bread, pasta and baby formula, The Washington Post reported.

However, with several federal food-assistance programs set to expire the day after Christmas unless new relief becomes available, lawmakers remain at odds over the contents of a coronavirus relief package that could immediately restore unemployment benefits to needy households.

During the week of Dec. 5, roughly 853,000 people filed new claims for state unemployment benefits, an increase of 137,000 from the previous week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Business Insider reported.

Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, said in October that more than 13 million more Americans could face food insecurity this year than two years ago, bringing the country’s total number of food-insecure people to 50.4 million, Business Insider reported.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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