Issue #23, June 13, 2016
Quote of the Week
"House Speaker Paul Ryan’s poverty plan...is not just about drastic cuts to proven programs; it’s also about dismantling the stable and effective structure of our nation’s safety net. It is downright dangerous."
Jim Weill, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), June 7, 2016
Ryan Poverty Plan
Speaker Ryan’s Poverty Plan Vastly Weakens Nation’s Nutrition Safety Net - FRAC, June 7, 2016
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s poverty plan ignores the realities of the struggles of millions of individuals and families across the country who need federal entitlement programs to make ends meet. By diminishing these crucial supports, the Ryan proposal actually would make poverty in America far worse.
American Academy of Pediatrics Statement in Response to House Republican Poverty Plan – Enews Park Forest, June 9, 2016
The poverty plan proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) “represents an unfortunate, missed opportunity,” notes the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in this statement. “The plan…embraces the same flawed framework included in the recent child nutrition reauthorization bill…turning programs like school meals into block grants, which jeopardize their ability to serve all children in need.” AAP concludes by calling for “support and expansion of…critical nutrition support programs like WIC, SNAP, and the school lunch program.”
FRAC Honors Anti-Hunger Advocates
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Senator Lisa Murkowski, and End Hunger Connecticut! Honored at the Food Research & Action Center’s 26th Annual Benefit Dinner - FRAC, June 9, 2016
“This year’s honorees reflect the essence of FRAC’s model of effective anti-hunger work,” said Jim Weill, president of FRAC. ”They epitomize leadership, collaboration and advocacy to make the best possible use of those national nutrition programs.”
Child Nutrition Reauthorization
Dems vow to fight GOP child nutrition bill – The Hill, June 9, 2016
During a recent press conference, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said that Democrats will “do everything they can” to fight the current House child nutrition bill, which includes a three-state pilot program to block grant child nutrition assistance. “It is critical to demonstrate to members on both sides of the isle how detrimental this bill is,” said DeLauro. “Every Congressional district is impacted by these cuts. Hunger exists in each and every community whether it is represented by a Republican or Democrat.”
Featured Letter: Protect access to free meals for students – Beloit Daily News, May 28, 2016
The changes to the child nutrition programs that the House Committee on Education and the Workforce propose “would potentially kick 3,923 students in Madison and Beloit off” eligibility for free school meals, writes Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) in this letter to the editor. The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act passed in 2010, is working in Wisconsin. “Thanks to CEP, in the first year of implementation an additional 1,150 hungry students in Beloit received lunch free of charge.” Pocan urges his colleagues “to look at this program’s positive community impacts so that we can ensure our students have the healthy, nutritious food they need in order to succeed in school.”
Editorial: House bill to revamp school meal program is tough to swallow – Ventura County Star, May 31, 2016
The child nutrition bill proposed by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce would raise the eligibility percentage for schools to participate in CEP, which allows schools in low-income areas to provide free school meals to all students without requiring application forms. It is estimated that the change would mean 7,000 schools participating in CEP would lose their eligibility. “Nationally, 30 million children depend on school nutrition programs because their families are too poor to provide a healthy breakfast and/or lunch,” notes this editorial.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
New federal grant will help low-income Hoosiers buy produce – Indianapolis Star, June 8, 2016
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana a $100,000 grant, which the organization will use to give SNAP users more purchase power to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets and certain grocery stores. “Some of these families are really living on some very narrow margins, and $20 is a big deal,” said Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture. USDA announced awards totaling $16.8 million in grants to help SNAP recipients purchase fresh fruit and vegetables.
Work requirements thin food stamp ranks – Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 4, 2016
In Georgia’s Cobb, Gwinnett, and Hall counties, 3,600 SNAP recipients have lost their benefits since January, due to work requirements for able-bodied, childless adults. Across the state, there are 113,000 able-bodied, childless SNAP recipients; a total of 348,980 SNAP recipients in Florida lost their benefits under the requirements, and in Kansas, the number of able-bodied, childless SNAP recipients has decreased by 75 percent.
Elder Care Services Can Now Accept Food Stamp Vouchers – WTXL, June 2, 2016
Seniors on SNAP in Tallahassee, Florida, will now be able to use their Electronic Benefit Transfer cards to purchase meals through Tallahassee’s Elder Care Services, Inc. “We’re talking about seniors that are completely alone at home,” said Zoila Huston, Division Director of Home and Community Based Services, of Elder Care Services. “[They] don’t have anyone to fix a meal. Maybe they can’t even get around.” The organization’s CFO, Lisa Giacobbe, noted that seniors not getting the proper nutrition are at risk for multiple health problems.
Free dinner: Syracuse schools’ next step toward fighting poverty – Syracuse.com, June 9, 2016
Delaware Elementary School in Syracuse, NY has started a pilot program offering free school suppers in its afterschool program, and McKinley-Brighton Elementary School will start the program in the fall. “By providing a meal, it actually helps draw kids into educational enrichment activities,” said Crystal FitzSimons of FRAC.
St. Louis County Library expands its free summer meals program for children – St. Louis Today, June 5, 2016
According to the FRAC, only about 38,000 Missouri children — just over 10 percent using school-year meals programs — make it to summer sites. This summer, the number of meals the St. Louis County Library in Missouri plans to serve children through the summer meals program is estimated to more than double to 14,000, up from 6,000 last year, according to library officials. The need for summer meals “is quite great,” especially for families with more than one child, who also use school breakfast programs, said Sunny Schaefer, director of Operation Food Search. “During the summer, a family’s food costs inflates an average of $300 a month because kids aren’t receiving school meals. This…presents difficulty…for those families who struggle to feed themselves.”
The Families That Can’t Afford Summer – The New York Times, June 4, 2016
Parents spent an average of $958 per child on summer expenses in 2014 – and families who can’t afford summer camps and learning programs scramble to find child care from family members or friends; some are forced to leave their children home alone. In the summer, low-income children lose an average of more than two months of reading skills that they don’t gain back, and they end up three years behind higher income children by the end of fifth grade. The demand for funding summer programs for children “is just bigger than what exists,” said Erik Peterson, vice president of policy at the Afterschool Alliance.