Issue #46, November 23, 2015

Tweet of the Week
FRAC ‏@fractweets November 19
Tell Congress the #CNR2015 bill needs to #InvestInKids by strenghting #summermeals programs & #CACFP.

School Nutrition

School Trash Cans Reveal A Lot About What Kids Will Eat
– WFMY, November 17, 2015
WFMY News in Burlington, North Carolina, investigated cafeteria trash cans at Turrentine Middle School to see what foods kids were not eating – and found the trash filled with empty milk cartons and discarded banana peels. The investigation did not turn up evidence that the students were “trashing healthy options.” The school helps ensure that kids accept healthier meals by conducting taste tests with the sixth, seventh and eighth graders.

USDA Helps Schools Connect with Local Farmers and Ranchers – USDA, November 17, 2015
USDA announced $4.8 million in Farm to School grants for 74 projects in 39 states connecting child nutrition programs with local farmers and ranchers. “[E]arly results from our Farm to School Census [indicate] schools across the nation invested nearly $600 million in local products,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. The program “provides a significant and reliable market for local farmers and ranchers,” Vilsack noted.


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Hundreds in Florence line up at Civic Center for food assistance
– WBTW, November 16, 2015
Florence County, South Carolina, residents struggling to recover from the state’s recent historic flooding have been able to apply for Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Eligible households are those suffering damage or destruction to the home, loss, delay or inaccessibility of income due to flooding, or disaster-related expenses not expected to be reimbursed within a certain time frame. Approved individuals receive a debit card, with benefits available within seven days.

Forsyth DSS trying to improve food stamp processing time – Winston-Salem Journal, November 19, 2015
North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services has increased the timeliness of SNAP applications to a statewide average of 90 percent; problems, including glitches and implementation trouble with the state’s NC FAST software, had resulted in thousands of untimely SNAP applications. USDA is requiring North Carolina to have an on-time processing  statewide average of 85 percent for July to December 2015 and a 95 percent average for January to June 2016.

Economic assistance restrictions limit Nebraskans in need – North Platte Bulletin, November 15, 2015
A number of Nebraskans recently described for a legislative committee their struggles with the “cliff effect” inherent in assistance programs. Single mother Aleisha Perkins had to reduce her work hours in order to qualify for SNAP and childcare assistance. “I don’t want to work less so that I can be assisted by the state,” she told legislators. Others said they found themselves cut off from assistance after receiving pay increases. According to Voices for Children in Nebraska, 46 percent of people in the state, who rely on assistance programs, report experience with the cliff effect.

Chicago Children’s Museum First in City to Link Admission and Food Stamps – Chicago Tonight, November 17, 2015
More than 44 museums nationwide have participated in the “Museums for All” program since its launch in 2014. The program provides reduced-cost museum admission to SNAP recipients. The Chicago Children’s Museum will begin offering reduced admissions through the program, after finding that their limited free days were restrictive for some working families. Before committing to the program, the museum held focus groups with SNAP recipients to hear what kinds of questions would be intrusive, and the types of identification that would be inappropriate.


Tax Credits

Veterans could lose tax credit
– Marketplace, November 11, 2015
Adjustments made in 2012 to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) made it easier for many to qualify for the credits, but when these adjustments expire in 2017, millions of veterans and active duty personnel could lose income. The adjustments allowed people earning as little as $3,000 to be eligible for CTC, and eased the EITC marriage penalty while allowing larger credits for families with three or more children.


Poverty Rates

California’s economy is booming, so why is it No. 1 in poverty?
– LA Times, November 13, 2015
California’s unemployment rate is 5.9 percent, the lowest since November 2007, yet the official poverty rate is 16.4 percent, ranking the state in the top third of all states for poverty. The Supplemental Poverty Measure shows California’s poverty rate at 23.4 percent, the nation’s highest. Expensive housing and declining low and middle-class wages are two big contributors to the state’s elevated poverty rates. Median wages in California have declined 6.2 percent since 2006, while wages increased 4.8 percent for the top 10 percent of the state’s earners between 2006 and 2014.

Record number of N.J. residents living in poverty, study finds –, November 15, 2015
Legal Services of New Jersey reports that according to their definition of poverty, which factors in cost of living, 2.8 million adults and 800,000 children lived in poverty in 2014. In September, the U.S. Census reported one million New Jersey residents lived in poverty. Major factors responsible for the high poverty rate include the state’s high cost of living and the shrinking middle class.

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