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FRAC WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST

Senior Health and Hunger

Free Online Course to Help Health Care Providers Address Senior Hunger – FRAC, February 5, 2018
The Food Research & Action Center and AARP Foundation today released a free, online course, “Screen & Intervene: Addressing Food Insecurity Among Older Adults,” to educate health care and community-based providers around the country about the extent of senior hunger and the solutions that exist to solve it. The course provides training on how to screen patients 50 and older for food insecurity, and information on how to connect food-insecure patients to key nutrition resources, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — the first line of defense against hunger for millions of Americans. Nationally, 2.8 million households with at least one adult age 65 or older struggled against hunger in 2016 — the last year for which the U.S. Department of Agriculture has published data.
   

Cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Ohio Legislature, Medicaid and SNAP aren’t job programs — Athens News, February 1, 2018
“Members of Ohio’s General Assembly and Ohio’s congressional delegation should heed lessons from the past and stand firmly against work requirements or other restrictions that serve only to further burden poor Ohioans,” writes Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, in this letter to the editor. Since the state instituted SNAP time limits on able-bodied adults without dependents, “nearly 350,000 fewer Ohioans are receiving food stamps,” Hamler-Fugitt notes. “Taking food stamps away from people already living on the margins has led to increased demand on our charitable hunger-relief network, rather than increased access to work.”
   

Pierce letter: Safety-net programs — Idaho Statesman, January 25, 2018
The tax billed recently signed into law will add $1.5 trillion to the deficit, “and it’s likely this year [Congress will] make deep cuts to vital safety-net programs, such as … SNAP,” writes Dawn Pierce in this letter to the editor. “I urge Senators Crapo and Risch, Congressmen Labrador and Simpson to protect and strengthen programs that connect individuals and families with the anti-poverty and anti-hunger programs they need to thrive,” writes Pierce. “This year, we’ve already seen attempts to gut essential programs like … SNAP.”
   

Don’t throw Kentucky seniors and farmers under the budget bus by sacrificing nutrition programs that yield economic and public health benefits — Kentucky.com, January 31, 2018
The Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program not only helps farmers selling their produce at farmer’s markets, it also helps thousands of low-income Kentuckians, writes Joseph Monroe of Valley Spirit Farm, in this op-ed. Officials attempt to cut budget deficits by placing hardship on low-income people, when expanding programs, such as SNAP (which provides $1.73 in economic activity for every $1 in benefits), is one of the most effective ways to “prime the economy’s pump.”
   

Hunger relief groups discuss SNAP — AkrLaTex Homepage, March 3, 2018
“If SNAP benefits are cut, we see more lines, and more people in the lines at our food pantries,” said Camille Wrinkle, executive director of Harvest Regional Food Bank in Arkansas. “We get more calls from people just needing more resources from us.” In Miller County, nine-thousand people are unsure where their next meal is coming from.
   

SNAP Access

Michigan tames an 18,408-word testament to bureaucracy run amok — Bridge Michigan, February 1, 2018
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recently launched a more user-friendly application for SNAP and other safety net programs. The new 18-page form is the result of more than two years of work in streamlining the previous 42-page form, the nation’s longest public assistance application. Redesign participants say the new form will significantly decrease the number of hours the 4,000 MDHHS case workers usually spend in tracking down information on incomplete forms. Currently, 1.3 million Michigan residents receive SNAP benefits.
   

Statewide plan sets five-year goal to end hunger — Durango Herald, January 28, 2018
A statewide plan in Colorado, endorsed by Gov. John Hickenlooper, emphasizes increasing participation in SNAP and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Only 60 percent of eligible Coloradoans receive SNAP benefits, while only about half of those eligible for WIC receive benefits, according to the most recent data from Hunger Free Colorado. While 43 percent of eligible residents La Plata County receive benefits, 52 percent of the county’s food-insecure population makes too much money to receive SNAP. “Increasing enrollment, without increasing income guidelines, will still leave a huge gap of people experiencing hunger,” said Sarah Smith, director of the Durango Food Bank.
   

Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)

Summer food program seeks applicants — Citizen Tribune, January 28, 2018
The Montana Office of Public Instruction is looking for schools, community centers, parks and other locations to sign on as SFSP sites this year. “The real problem in Montana is that just 1 in 3 kids who regularly rely on free or reduced-price school lunch also eat free SFSP meals during the summer,” said Lorianne Burhop, chief policy officer at the Montana Food Bank Network. Surveys administered by the Montana Food Bank Network found that families often do not know about SFSP. “That’s why outreach for the program is so important,” said Burhop. Interested applicants can call 406-444-2501 for more information.
   

Afterschool Meals

After-school meals being served across Tuscaloosa City Schools this semester — Tuscaloosa News, February 1, 2018
Alabama’s Tuscaloosa City Schools began serving free afterschool meals and snacks at 12 schools, after Carton Robertson, director of the system’s child nutrition program realized that for many low-income students, the only nutritious meals they were getting were at school. The meals are being funded through the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
   

School Breakfast Program

New program has kids digging into breakfast in Wheeling District 21 — Daily Herald, January 25, 2018
U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) joined other officials recently to recognize the effect providing breakfast after the bell has had on school breakfast participation at four Wheeling Township Elementary District 21 schools in Illinois. The district served 143,134 meals as of December, a 200 percent increase over the previous year. Since beginning to offer breakfast after the bell in October, about 70 percent of eligible students are participating in school breakfast.
   

Morning meal effort sees success, slated for more schools — The Hour, January 31, 2018
Kendall Elementary School is one of many Norwalk, Connecticut, schools that are providing “grab and go” breakfast to students, which they can take to their classroom. Before offering the program, breakfast participation at Kendall was 17 percent; in January, participation increased to 29 percent. “There have been more opportunities for teachers to start instruction earlier,” said the school’s principal, Zakiyyah Baker, since students, in bypassing the cafeteria, are getting to their classrooms earlier.
   

From FRAC Chat

From Struggling Against Hunger to Fighting It: One Doctor’s Story - FRAC Chat, February 5, 2018
"Having experienced poverty as a child, one of my goals in becoming a physician was to help other families in need; another of my goals was to never have to live with food insecurity again," writes Dr. Robin Dickinson, MD, a family physician at Community Supported Family Medicine, a safety net clinic in Englewood, Colorado, in this guest blog post.

The State of the Union for Struggling Americans — FRAC Chat, January 31, 2018
In the State of the Union address on January 30, President Trump expressed his belief that the state of the union is excellent, pointing to, among other factors, economic growth over the last year, the stock market, and the unemployment rate. This is a skewed picture, however, leaving out the struggles of tens of millions of Americans, growing economic chasms, and increasing economic and political disunion.

Putting an End to Childhood Hunger in North Carolina — FRAC Chat, January 30, 2018
“I didn’t know how I was going to feed my daughter tonight,” said a mom with tears streaming down her face. She had just walked into the cafeteria of the YMCA of Avery County where she saw her child enjoying a nutritious dinner with a roomful of children who were there for an afterschool program.