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FRAC WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST

Issue #25, June 18, 2018

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Summer Nutrition Reports

There’s a Free Program to Feed Hungry Kids During the Summer, But Many Miss Out — Education Week, June 13, 2018
Only 1 out of 7 of the 20 million children receiving free or reduced-price lunch also participated in the summer nutrition programs in July 2017, according to FRAC’s latest “Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation: Summer Nutrition Status Report.” The number of children receiving free summer meals dropped by 4,000 between July 2016 and July 2017. Barriers to participation in the program include a shortage of summer enrichment programs for students, which often offer summer meals, along with lack of transportation to meal sites, particularly in rural areas.
   

New Jersey Jumps to 6th Place Nationally for Serving More Summer Lunches — SNJToday, June 13, 2018
According to FRAC’s latest summer nutrition report, New Jersey’s ranking among states for serving children free summer meals jumped from 12th to 6th in 2017; the state served nearly 1.5 million meals to children and teens in July 2017, a 32 percent increase from July 2016. “The partnership between the campaign and the agriculture department has been very effective in helping more communities to serve summer meals,” said Cecilia Zalkind, president and CEO of Advocates for Children of New Jersey, and co-chair of the New Jersey Food for Thought Campaign. “But we still have a way to go before we can say we’re reaching all children who could benefit.” Adele LaTourette, director of the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition and co-chair of the campaign. “We are working with our partners across the state to get the word out and let parents know where sites are located, what meals are being served and when.”
   

Preventing ‘Summer Slide:’ New report highlights need for summer lunch, breakfast programs — WTAE, June 13, 2018
FRAC ranked Pennsylvania 28th for summer meal participation in its new summer nutrition report. The state had a 12-percent increase in summer breakfast participation, noted Crystal FitzSimons, director of school and out-of-school time programs at FRAC. Nationwide, “[t]here are not a lot of summer programs for kids and a lot of low-income families get costed out of those programs,” said FitzSimons. “During the summer kids actually need healthy meals and they need summer programs that keep them learning and safe.”
   

The Crusade To Keep Hawaii Kids Fed This Summer — Civil Beat, June 13, 2018
FRAC’s latest summer meal report found that, of the 61,000 Hawaii students participating in the National School Lunch Program in the 2016–2017 school year, only 5,800 received free summer meals in July 2017, fewer than 1 in 10 of the eligible students. When school lets out, students aren’t located in one place, which makes them harder to reach with meals, plus staffing is low, said Nicole Woo, senior policy analyst at the Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law & Economic Justice. The state is making progress, through expanded mobile delivery of summer meals.
   

Report Outlines How Best To Feed Students When School Is Out — WPR, June 13, 2018
According to FRAC’s summer nutrition report, Wisconsin’s daily average summer meal participation decreased 1.7 percent between July 2016 and July 2017, although there was an increase in the number of sites serving meals. Summer meals went to about 15 percent of Wisconsin students eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch. “We are continually putting in effort to try and locate sponsors,” said Thomas McCarthy of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. “[W]e reach out to the church communities, YMCA’s and places where people are in the summer months.”
   

Cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)


Peterson: Why I voted against the 2018 farm bill — Inforum.com, June 8, 2018
Before he voted on the House Farm Bill recently, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) met with SNAP offices. “Folks I talked to — people on the ground that work on this program every day — told me this plan was unworkable, and that the only work the Republic farm bill would create is paper work,” writes Peterson in this op-ed. Republicans “set off on an ideological crusade” in the House Farm Bill, instead of working with Democrats on changes. “Any time lawmakers begin with a partisan goal in mind instead of taking the time along the way to evaluate and address what needs fixing, it’s a recipe for disaster,” notes Peterson.
   

Resist SNAP restrictions: Assisting the poor helps us all — Bangor Daily News, June 9, 2018
The proposed restrictions, in the recently-defeated House Farm Bill, “would have harmed Maine families and increased healthcare costs for the rest of us,” writes Brian Arundel, an advocacy volunteer with RESULTS, in this op-ed. “Anyone who believes that helping people in poverty somehow enables them to be lazy has never spoken with a single parent working multiple jobs while raising kids, or the dad who was laid off from the mill where he’d worked for decades,” writes Arundel. He concludes by urging Maine’s senators to resist restrictions in SNAP as the Senate advances its Farm Bill.
   

It’s far from a SNAP to eat on $4.56 a day —  Boston Herald, June 12, 2018
Massachusetts advocates and lawmakers participated in the SNAP Challenge by spending $4.56 a day on groceries as Congress debates SNAP cuts in the Farm Bill. For Adrienne Worthington, director of nutrition for the Greater Boston Food Bank, shopping for healthy food on a SNAP budget was “exhausting. I can’t imagine trying to do that, at that level, with children or with an older parent.” SNAP benefits help nearly 800,000 people in the state. “It is a critical resource for a lot of people in our state,” said Worthington.
   

Indiana Faith Groups Brace for Possible SNAP Changes — Public News Service, June 11, 2018
States that have added restrictions to SNAP benefits have seen increased reliance on emergency food providers, like food banks and pantries. Restrictions in the House Farm Bill would result in more demand at the Shepherd Community Center in Indianapolis, notes the Center’s chief program officer Andrew Green. “And just because of how tight things are currently, I think we would run the risk of having to turn people away.”
   

People of faith say protect SNAP — The Wichita Eagle, June 10, 2018
“While charitable organizations play a vital role in addressing hunger, the overwhelming majority of food assistance in this country (9 of every 20 bags of groceries) has historically come from — and must continue to come from — federal programs, like SNAP,” write Rev. Dr. Robin McGonigle, senior minister, and Rev. Paul Ellis Jackson, associate minister at University Congregational Church in Wichita, in this op-ed. “Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, the Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, has the ultimate power to ensure negotiations stay strong, bipartisan, and provide for Kansans in need.” During an average month in 2016, SNAP helped 112,825 Kansas households afford food. More than 75 percent of households receiving SNAP in the state are families with children.
   

Summer Nutrition Programs

Out for lunch: Summer can mean struggle to keep kids fed — St. Louis Public Radio, June 12, 2018
About 13,400 children in Missouri’s Jefferson County qualify for free or reduced-price school meals. For some families relying on school meals, the summer meals may be hard to reach. Stacey Vehlewald’s grocery bill increased by $300 a month last summer when her children were out of school. “It’s hard to fix that gap,” she said. “That’s three extra meals for three children, but your food stamps don’t go up for that extra time.” Her apartment complex is offering free summer meals this year. Last year, the closest summer meal program was an hour’s drive away.
   

Red Wing kicks off summer food program — Post Bulletin, June 12, 2018
Children in Red Wing, Minnesota, relying on free or reduced-price school meals have been able to receive free summer meals funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture since 2014; today, seven summer nutrition program locations around Red Wing serve nearly 37,000 meals throughout the summer. The numbers have increased over the years due to planning by community education programs, and because of the need in the community. “We have a growing need even to expand the program to the [point] of adding a supper program at two of our locations,” said Brent Lexvold, food service director for Red Wing Public Schools. “I know there are kids our community that only have lunch with us, and the next meal they have will be [school]  breakfast.”