Issue #39, October 5, 2015
Quote of the Week
“[I]t’s the job of Congress to protect, not strike down, the [school nutrition] standards already in place. Failure to do so can have serious consequences for the health of our nation’s children.”
Dr. Jane Chiang, The Hill, September 25, 2015
Child Nutrition Reauthorization
Don’t Weaken Nutrition Standards for School Meals – The Hill, September 25, 2015
32 million children depend on the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs to provide them with meals each day, writes Dr. Jane Chiang, senior vice president for Medical and Community Affairs at the American Diabetes Association. With so many children relying on school meals, she notes, it is important for Congress to uphold the nutrition standards found in the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010. “[I]t’s the job of Congress to protect, not strike down, the standards already in place,” writes Dr. Chiang. “Failure to do so can have serious consequences for the health of our nation’s children. The best way to prevent childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes in children is to promote healthy eating at an early age.
School Breakfast Program
Washington County Gets an A On School Breakfast Participation – Herald Mail, October 2, 2015
In a recent report released by Maryland Hunger Solutions, Washington County was awarded high marks for participation in the School Breakfast Program. In fact, the county was one of only ten in Maryland that received an A grade for its efforts around school breakfast. In Washington County, 75.7 percent of low-income students who participate in school lunch also eat school breakfast. "It's really important. It's a baseline program for us, in terms of meeting the needs of our community and providing food for nourishment for our students, so they're ready to learn in the classroom. And that's the key,” said Jeff Proulx, supervisor of Food and Nutrition Services for the county’s schools.
Vermont gets $252,344 SNAP Performance Bonus – Vermont Business Magazine, September 30, 2015
For the second time this year, Vermont was given a bonus of $252,344 by USDA for increased performance in SNAP. The state also received a bonus of $293,000 in July. The bonus was awarded for Vermont’s 92.99 percent of eligible low-income residents who participate in SNAP, one of the country’s highest participation rates. Vermont’s participation levels contribute an estimated $10 million monthly to the state’s economy.
Maine Has Found a Stunning Way to Keep the Poor in Poverty – Washington Post, October 1, 2015
Maine plans to implement a $5,000 cap on the savings and additional assets of residents receiving SNAP. If a resident’s savings and assets exceed the cap, they will no longer be eligible to participate in SNAP. Many are concerned these asset tests will discourage the poor from saving money in order to receive benefits for the food they need. “One of the few ways to break out of generational poverty is to build assets, to save money,” said grassroots activist Janet Smith. “The governor is effectively closing that window.”
Critics Say Proposal to Cut Food Benefits Will Hit Rural Areas Hard – WRAL, October 2, 2015
A bill has reached North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory’s desk that would reduce food assistance for the unemployed. The bill would prevent childless, able-bodied adults from receiving food assistance after 90 days if they are not working at least 20 hours per week. While these are part of the federal requirements for SNAP, North Carolina received a wavier for these requirements due to a spike in unemployment during the recession. The bill would end the waiver, and disproportionately affect people in rural counties where jobs are harder to find.
Summits to Address Access to Free Summer Meals for Children Take Place Across State – The Topeka Capital – Journal, September 30, 2015
Summits are being planned throughout the state of Kansas in October to address expanding the reach of the Summer Food Service Program in the state. According to a 2014 report by the Food Research and Action Center, Kansas ranked 50th in summer meals participation, with the meals going to seven children for every 100 that participated in the National School Lunch Program. The summits will build on the progress made - in summer 2014, there were 44 counties without summer meals sites, and in summer 2015, that number was reduced to 35 counties without sites – and look for new ways to increase participation.
Healthy Food Access
USDA Awards $34.3 Million to Support Communities’ Local Foods Infrastructure, Increase Access to Fruits and Vegetables – USDA, October 2, 2015
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that USDA would provide almost $35 million in funding for grant programs to bolster local food systems and farmers markets. The grants include Farmers Market Promotion Program grants and Local Food Promotion Program grants, among others. “USDA is helping create economic opportunities for producers, increase access to fresh healthy food for consumers, and connect rural and urban communities across the country,” said Vilsack in a statement.
Inequality and Education
Education Gap Between Rich and Poor is Growing Wider – New York Times, September 22, 2015
The achievement gap is widening between children from low-income families and children from more affluent families, according to Sean Reardon from the Center for Education Policy Analysis at Stanford University. By the time they start kindergarten, many children from low-income households are already a year behind their wealthier peers in their grasp of reading and math. Children with less educated and low-income parents experience higher obesity rates, and are more likely to develop health problems. “The gaps are huge,” said researcher Rachel Valentino of Stanford.