Issue #29, July 27, 2015

Quote of the Week
“We have the third worst child hunger rate in the nation, with 28 percent of our kids suffering from food insecurity. Now is not the time to make changes to SNAP.”
Veronica C. Garcia, executive director of New Mexico Voices For Children, Albuquerque Journal News
   


Summer Meals


Letter: Fund child nutrition programs – Topeka Capital-Journal, July 28, 2015
The Summer Food Service Program is only helping a fraction of Kansas children who need free summer meals. Congress will consider, later this year, the law governing the summer meal program through the Child Nutrition Reauthorization process. “I hope that Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran will support smart, practical policies to improve our summer meals program and connect more kids to the nutrition they need,” writes Tawny Stottlemire, executive director of Community Action, in this letter to the editor. “This is a critical chance to end summer hunger for more kids in our state.”
   

School districts step up summer feeding programs - Greenville Online, July 20, 2015
In 2014, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service launched a plan to increase the number of summer meals served to children by 10 million. The efforts have helped grow programs nationally. From 2013 to 2014, programs grew by 7.3 percent, according to research by the Food Research and Action Center, a national hunger relief advocacy group.
   

SNAP

Navigating a Bureaucratic Maze to Renew Food Stamp Benefits – The New York Times, July 23, 2015
While New York City has been working to increase SNAP access to needy residents, many who rely on the benefits find they must navigate a messy, complicated system if they have a question or issue with their benefits or when they renew, and some find their benefits cancelled. The Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center has seen, over the past two years, a marked increase in the number of complaints from SNAP recipients. “We are moving, literally, as quickly as possible to eliminate these barriers to assistance,” said Steven Banks, commissioner of the Human Resources Administration.
   

Under Secretary of USDA speaks on-campus – Red & Black, July 22, 2015
Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, dispelled SNAP myths recently in a speech at the University of Georgia campus. Although some say undocumented immigrants are receiving benefits, “[y]ou have to be a legal citizen of the U.S.,” said Concannon. The majority of SNAP recipients are white U.S. citizens, more than 40 percent of recipients have jobs, and half of the 45 million recipients are children. Concannon also noted that the Institute of Medicine found that the SNAP Program does not provide enough help, particular for children or those working jobs at odd hours.
   

Oklahoma Republican Party Compares Food Stamp Recipients To Animals In FB Post – News9.com, July 14, 2015
Recently, the Oklahoma GOP posted to its Facebook page and Twitter account noting that the SNAP Program will distribute free meals to 46 million people, then stated that the National Park Service has signs in parks saying don’t feed the animals, because they grow dependent on the handouts. “Many OK teachers, correctional officers, college students, and single mothers qualify for food stamps,” posted Oklahoma lawmaker Emily Virgin on Twitter. OK GOP’s statement is disgusting,” she added.
   

Scott Walker Sues Feds Over Food Stamp Drug Testing – The Huffington Post, July 15, 2015
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wants SNAP Program recipients to undergo drug testing and is suing the government over his plan. The government does not allow states to impose drug tests for SNAP recipients. “Gov. Walker hasn’t read the law,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “It’s always a good idea before you start litigation to understand what the law is.” Last year, Georgia tried to institute SNAP drug testing, and USDA told the state that to do so “would constitute an additional condition of eligibility, and therefore, is not allowable under law.”
   

NM still ranks 49th in child well-being – Albuquerque Journal News, July 21, 2015
Since 2008, the number of New Mexico children in high poverty areas increased significantly, as well as the number of children in families with no parent holding down full-time, year-round employment, according to the 2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “We have the third worst child hunger rate in the nation, with 28 percent of our kids suffering from food insecurity,” said Veronica C. Garcia, executive director of New Mexico Voices For Children. “Now is not the time to make changes to SNAP.” The state’s Human Services Department recently proposed work rule changes for SNAP recipients.
   

Stamp of Disapproval – Santa Cruz Good Times, July 15, 2015
While nearly 15 percent of residents in California’s Santa Cruz County live below the poverty line, the number of residents on SNAP has remained low. The county has made progress in signing up more eligible residents through a campaign to help people find benefits they are entitled to. And the application process has been streamlined, including offering “telephonic signatures,” in which a voice recording can act as an applicant’s signature. The innovation has helped reduce the application process time, especially for people who find it difficult to arrange Human Services Department office interviews. The Department has also distributed flyers dispelling SNAP Program myths, especially the myth that those with jobs are ineligible for benefits.
   

School Nutrition

Massachusetts nutrition law has lowered access to unhealthy foods in schools, study says – Masslive, July 23, 2015
Massachusetts instituted nutrition standards in 2012 that aimed to improve the nutritional quality of competitive foods in the state’s middle and high schools. A recent study conducted over 18 months across 37 school districts found that a majority of competitive foods sold at the 74 schools in the study met the new requirements, which don’t carry financial consequences if not followed.
   

Children and Poverty

New findings: African-American child poverty rate unchanged at 38% - USA Today, July 14, 2015
A new analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Research Center find that the poverty rate for African-American children remained at 38 percent between 2010 and 2013, although the percentage of US children in poverty decreased from 22 percent to 20 percent. In addition, African-American children were nearly four times as likely as white or Asian children to be living in poverty in 2013.
   

Research

Broad Sympathies and Borderline Myths – Graduate School of Political Management, George Washington University, July 23, 2015
According to a new George Washington University analysis, a majority of American voters agree that undocumented immigrants are “family and community oriented,” are “filling jobs Americans don’t want,” and disagree that they “are ‘cheaters’ here to just help themselves.” Commenting on the report, Dr. Cornfield of GW University said “[p]olitical strategists and policymakers should take these majority attitudes into serious consideration.”
   

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