Issue #37, September 19, 2016
Quote of the Week
“We need higher employment rates...better wages for low-income workers and we need stronger government support programs. We need a stronger food stamp program, a stronger school lunch and school breakfast and child care food programs.”
Jim Weill, WGNS, September 15, 2016
SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
How Seniors Get Left Out of Hunger Initiatives – Media Planet, September 16, 2016
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is effective at fighting hunger among seniors, yet many eligible seniors don’t receive benefits, writes Jim Weill, FRAC president, in this article. Some seniors are not aware they qualify, others are unsure about how to apply, while still others may feel a stigma attached to receiving benefits, or face mobility and transportation issues if required to apply or recertify in person. The paperwork involved in applying can overwhelm seniors. FRAC and the AARP Foundation have a toolkit offering practical tips and examples of how communities can raise awareness of senior hunger
Living on average food stamp benefit – ABC2, September 14, 2016
Michael J. Wilson, director of Maryland Hunger Solutions, appeared on ABC2’s In Focus to discuss the SNAP Challenge. The average SNAP benefit is $4 per person per day, and the SNAP Challenge encourages participants to live for one week on that per-day amount. Participants in the Challenge are faced with the struggles low-income families experience in purchasing food for their families with SNAP benefits.
DCFS Issues Nearly $80 Million in Disaster Food Stamps – KATC, September 13, 2016
“Over the past three weeks, there were approximately 1,400 [Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)] staff throughout the state dedicated to serving flood victims,” said DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters. “Just as we have in the past, we relied heavily on the assistance of our agency partners, the Louisiana National Guard, Louisiana State Police, the Office of Technology Services and other state departments,” noted Walters.
TN Ranks 13th for Food Insecurity – WGNS, September 15, 2016
FRAC reports that Tennessee ranks low among states for its high numbers of food-insecure residents, according to the organization’s analysis of new USDA data. “We need higher employment rates” to address food hardship, notes Jim Weill, FRAC president. “We need better wages for low-income workers and we need stronger government support programs. We need a stronger food stamp program, a stronger school lunch and school breakfast and child care food programs.”
Letter: Don’t give up on SNAP – Topeka Capital-Journal, September 3, 2016
Daniel Greenhalgh, a physics student at Kansas State University, grew up in poverty and dealt with hunger and homelessness. “School lunches and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), for me, were some of the only consistent parts of my childhood,” he writes in this letter to the editor. “I urge Sens. Roberts and Moran and Reps. Jenkins, Pompeo, Yoder and Huelskamp to stand up against any attempt to block-grant SNAP, in order to protect Kansas kids,” Greenhalgh concludes.
USDA Seeks Retailer Volunteers for SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot – September 15, 2016
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking retailers for a two-year nationwide pilot to enable SNAP recipients to use their benefits to buy groceries online. USDA has been working to lay the groundwork for the pilot’s complex technical infrastructure, since online payment presents a number of technical and security issues. “We will continue to work closely with our state and EBT processing partners on this pilot so that we can bring this option to SNAP households in an efficient and secure manner,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Program expansion means more produce options for low-income families – Liberty Tribune, September 14, 2016
A combination of USDA, private foundation, and local government funding has helped expand the Double Up Food Bucks program – which increases the buying power of SNAP benefits – to 117 grocery stores and 68 farmers markets in 34 counties across Kansas and Missouri. Through the program, SNAP recipients receive a $1 match for every dollar in benefits they spend on local produce, which allows them to purchase more produce at the same site. “It helps low-income families eat more healthy food, helps local farmers sell more produce and keeps more food dollars in the local economy,” said Donna Martin, senior public health planner at Mid-America Regional Council.
Child Nutrition Reauthorization
House bill back-pedals lunch reform progress – Daily Targum, September 14, 2016
Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) is long overdue on Capitol Hill, and the current House version of the bill would deny thousands of children “the nutritious meals they need for their health and academic achievement, and the meals children could still attain would be significantly less healthy,” writes Thalya Reyes, a master’s candidate for public policy and city and regional planning at Rutgers University in this op-ed. Moreover, 11,000 additional schools not currently participating in community eligibility would lose the opportunity to participate in coming years, according to the Food Research and Action Center and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “It is my hope that House members will listen to the overwhelming number of parents with children in public schools who support the current nutritional standards by a 3-to-1 ratio,” Reyes concludes.
Meal program expands to cover schools across district with highest need in county – Greenfield Reporter, September 3, 2016
In Greenfield, Indiana, every school in the largest school district with the highest need will be offering free meals to all students this year. Nearly a third of the district’s 4,500 students qualify for free or reduced-price school lunch. FRAC reports that students who eat a healthy breakfast score higher in math and reading tests, and are less likely to be overweight.
USDA Announces Availability of $5 Million in Farm to School Grants to Increase Local Foods in Schools – USDA, September 13, 2016
Farm to school programs help schools meet the expanded school nutrition standards authorized in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. USDA’s 2015 Farm to School Census found that schools implementing such programs report food waste reduction, higher school meal participation rates, and increased willingness among students to try new fruits and vegetables.
Student Wellness and Nutrition
SuperTracker Gets Students Back on Track as They Head Back to School – USDA, September 14, 2016
USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion launched a revised version of their online tool, “SuperTracker Nutrition Lesson Plans for High School Students,” with new content based on the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. SuperTracker is an education resource that teachers, schools, and health educators can use to help high school students build healthy eating and physical activity habits.