Be an Advocate

FRAC WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST

Issue #16, April 16, 2018

follow us:   


Make plans to attend FRAC's Annual Benefit Dinner, Wednesday, June 6, 2018 at The Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C. The proceeds from the dinner will benefit FRAC's Campaign to End Childhood Hunger, which is achieving major gains in feeding children in communities throughout the United States. For more information, please call (202) 986-2200 x3950. To purchase tickets, please visit FRAC's website.


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Cuts

If It’s Not Broken, Why Fix It? Draft Farm Bill Puts Unnecessary Burdens on Low-Income People — FRAC, April 12, 2018
"House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway’s (R-TX) draft farm bill ... seeks to erode the effectiveness of SNAP in ensuring that those who struggle against hunger can afford to put food on the table," notes Jim Weill, FRAC’s president, in this statement. "The proposals in this bill would lead to greater hunger and poverty among all types of beneficiary families, including the working poor, as well as reduced economic growth and productivity in communities across the country. Congress must recognize that large numbers of their constituents in every part of the country are struggling, and the solution to lifting people out of hunger and poverty is to increase the amount of SNAP benefits for people who need them and support well-paying jobs that provide real opportunity for people to support themselves and their families based on their earnings."
   

Putting a price tag on childhood hunger — The Hill, April 10, 2018
According to a report from Massachusetts, the additional healthcare, special education, and lost work time caused by food insecurity amounts to $2.4 billion, and "I can only imagine what we are spending in a state as big as Texas," writes Dr. Michael K. Hole of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin, in this op-ed. As a street doctor in Austin and Central Texas, Dr. Hole sees hunger's effects on health and learning experienced by high-risk and homeless children. "While Congress is considering SNAP in the upcoming farm bill, it is important to maintain the program's structure and funding," Dr. Hole concludes. "Without SNAP, the children I see in my practice would have fewer opportunities to thrive and grow into healthy, productive adults."
   

The ‘typical’ food stamps recipient could be your neighbor, friend or relative — Cleveland.com, April 8, 2018
U.S. Census Bureau data show the typical Ohio household on SNAP to consist of a single-parent family with kids; most have a job, and most recipients are white. Half of the households have a person with a disability, and 1 in 4 households has a person over the age of 60. “[O]ne of the most important things to remember is that the ‘typical’ SNAP recipient is likely our neighbor, friend or relative who is struggling to make ends meet,” writes Kate Warren, research associate at The Center for Community Solutions, in this op-ed. The president’s budget would drastically reduce or eliminate benefits, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “It is critical that our legislators in Washington preserve this important program,” Warren concludes.
   

SNAP Participation

72 percent of Routt County residents leave federal food assistance on table — Steamboat Today, April 4, 2018
A report from Hunger Free Colorado found that only 28 percent of eligible Routt County residents receive SNAP benefits, compared to the statewide average of 58 percent and the national average of 75 percent. Some people think applying is not worth the effort because the benefit amount is too low, while others see a stigma attached to accepting government assistance, said Kelly Keith, human services director for the county.
   

Afterschool Meals

DC Public Schools afterschool supper program fills hunger gap — WJLA, April 9, 2018
Nearly 1.1 million children, according to FRAC, received an afterschool supper in October 2016, up from 200,000 children in October 2011. “[W]e know there are a lot of kids whose primary meals come from the school breakfast and school lunch program and by providing an afterschool supper, we know that kids are not going hungry in the evening,” said Crystal FitzSimons of FRAC. “[T]he students are not only getting meals, they’re getting afterschool instruction and engagement and it’s a great way for the students to continue … learning throughout the day[.]”
   

Two Castroville schools get ready to become the site of a new afterschool supper program — Monterey County Weekly, April 12, 2018
Two schools in California's North Monterey County Unified School District will pilot serving afterschool suppers beginning in Fall 2018. One school was offering an afterschool snack, but that was insufficient, said Sarah Doherty, the district's director of child nutrition services. The schools are also located in a part of the county lacking major grocery stores. Doherty noted that a significant percent of the district's students come from families who qualify for SNAP.
   

School Breakfast

Fall Mountain district debuts free breakfast for all Alstead students — Sentinel Source, April 6, 2018
The Alstead attendance area in New Hampshire’s Fall Mountain Regional School District will be piloting a program to serve free breakfast in the classroom to all students at four schools. Breakfast after the bell helps avoid singling out students for participating in school breakfast. The area was chosen because it has a high percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch, and it is hoped that the program will expand to the rest of the district, according to Jaca Hughes, food service director.
   

Summer Food Service Program

More students eating summer meals in New Jersey, report shows — Press of Atlantic City, April 10, 2018
Advocates for Children of New Jersey reports that 20,000 more children received free summer meals in the last year of data collected, an increase of 27 percent. A total of 94,800 New Jersey children participated in summer meal programs on an average day in July 2017. The state's summer meal participation rate grew from 19 percent in 2015 to 24 percent in 2017. "While this is great progress, the national Food Research & Action Center recommends that communities reach 40 percent of low-income children who eat lunch at school," notes the report, authored by Nancy Parello.
   

Economic Inequality


Battle Ground family among many that struggle as wages stagnate — The Columbian, April 1, 2018
Although demand for workers grows, stagnant wages are common in Washington’s Clark County, where incomes increased only six percent in the past decade, according to state data, while the top 20th percentile saw a 14 percent increase, and the top five percent saw 20 percent increases. For Chris Waller, that means his paycheck runs out before meeting the car payment, student debts, medical expenses, and emergency loans. SNAP and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) help the family’s grocery purchases. According to regional labor economist Scott Bailey, what’s missing in the area are jobs for lower-skilled people that pay family wages.
   

Income inequality greater among minority women — Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 9, 2018
The 2016 Gender Pay Inequality report from the Joint Economic Committee Democratic Staff found that women in Georgia earn 18 percent less than men, ranking the state 17th in the gender pay gap. The median wage gap was 20 percent. The disparity in wages costs an average full-time working woman about $10,000 a year. New rules in 2016 from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission required employers to record pay data, broken down by race, gender, ethnicity and job categories. However, the Trump administration halted the practice. Requiring employers to collect and report this data is a powerful tool in combating pay inequity, said Fatima Goss, president of the National Women’s Law Center.