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Issue #30, October 11, 2016

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Quote of the Week
"National School Lunch Week 2016 ... continues our month-long observance of Farm to School Month, and this year, there’s a lot to celebrate. More than 50 million children around the country attend schools that participate in USDA’s National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs."
Dr. Katie Wilson, FRAC Chat, October 10, 2016

National School Lunch Week

Celebrating Progress: National School Lunch Week 2016 – FRAC Chat, October 10, 2016
"Today kicks off National School Lunch Week 2016 and continues our month-long observance of Farm to School Month, and this year, there’s a lot to celebrate," writes Dr. Katie Wilson, Deputy Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in this blog post. Some 99 percent of schools nationwide are meeting the updated nutrition standards, 80 percent of schools offer two or more vegetables at lunch (according to CDC), and the Harvard School of Public Health reports that student consumption of fruits and vegetables has increased by more than 16 percent.

Food Hardship

Former congressman says fight against hunger goes on – Dayton Daily News, October 5, 2016
Former U.S. Representative Tony Hall recently attended an anti-hunger summit meeting in Ohio, and said the local fight against hunger continues. He cited FRAC’s recent food hardship report, which ranked Dayton second nationally for households with children reporting difficulty affording sufficient food in 2014-15. FRAC reported that Dayton’s food hardship rate for households with children is 29.4 percent.

School Meals

Fueling healthy minds in Salem – Salem News, September 29, 2016
USDA initiatives such as the Community Eligibility Provision, and allowing children to eat breakfast in the classroom, have helped increase school meal participation in Salem, Mass., writes Deborah Jeffers, director of Food and Nutrition Services for Salem Public Schools, in this op-ed. Breakfast in the classroom has increased participation between 75 and 85 percent in the past school year, while moving breakfast out of the cafeteria at two high schools increased participation from eight percent to nearly 45 percent.

What are Lee students’ newest food choices? And they’re free, too – News-Press, October 1, 2016
“When you’re in the cafeteria now, there is no distinction between paid, free or reduced,” said Sonny Stelmacki, director of food services for Florida’s Lee County schools. “All the students are on an equal playing field. [W]hen we talk to administrators, they say that it seems to be calmer in the cafeteria, kids are happier, they don’t feel like, ‘If I get up and go through the line that someone is going to see me.’”

National Farm to School Month Highlights Benefits to America’s Students and Communities – USDA Blog, October 3, 2016
Farm to school programs now exist in every state and in every type of school district according to USDA’s recent Farm to School Census. The report also found that strong farm to school programs can increase school breakfast and lunch purchases by students and increase their consumption of healthier foods while reducing plate waste. The nation’s farmers, ranchers, fisherman, food processors and manufacturers also benefit economically from these programs. In September, USDA began accepting applications for FY 2017 Farm to School Grant Funding.

Poverty in the U.S.

Millions in U.S. Climb Out of Poverty, at Long Last – The New York Times, September 26, 2016
Government programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the earned-income tax credit have helped millions of Americans climb out of poverty over the past few years, and the slowly improving economy helped raise 3.5 million Americans above the poverty line last year, according to the Census Bureau. Multiple roads lead people out of poverty, and one of the most promising is a higher minimum wage, notes Sheldon Danziger, president of the Russell Sage Foundation. Still, deficient education, inadequate health care and a lack of marketable skills can create setbacks and a downward economic spiral for many poor people.

The States And Stakes Of Poverty In The U.S.A. – The Huffington Post, September 16, 2016
“Unfortunately, in the run-up to the election there has been a poverty of discussion regarding poverty,” writes Frank Islam, an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist, in this op-ed. “Poverty is at the bottom of the list” of policy issues discussed, he notes.

A Toilet, but No Proper Plumbing: A Reality in 500,000 U.S. Homes – The New York Times, September 27, 2016
While less than half of the residents in Alabama’s Lowndes County (one of the nation’s poorest counties) are connect to a municipal sewer line, many of those who are not connected cannot afford septic systems for their homes, which can cost thousands of dollars. Nationwide, nearly half a million households lack access to hot water, a bathtub or shower, or a working flush toilet, according to the Census Bureau.

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