Be An Advocate

August 12, 2019

Proposed Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Regulation

Trump’s Proposed Rule Would Deny Food Stamps to 3.1 Million Food Insecure Americans (Between the Lines, August 7, 2019)
In this radio interview, Ellen Vollinger, SNAP director at FRAC, discusses the proposed rule limiting SNAP benefits, gives reasons why the change would cause more people across the country to go hungry, and calls on Congress to strengthen SNAP benefits. Currently, a person on SNAP receives an average of $4 a day for food, which “can make a difference for them of not having to choose between making the rent payment and having food,” Vollinger notes in the interview.

Welfare changes may leave Ohioans without food benefits (The Vindicator, August 5, 2019)
More than 50,000 SNAP recipients in Ohio’s Mahoning County could lose their benefits if a proposed rule change for the program goes into effect, and they would not be the only people affected. SNAP makes it possible for many people to participate in the economy by helping them afford food. “If they lose their SNAP benefits and can’t get back on, that could be felt by local businesses,” said Robert Bush, Jr., director of Mahoning County Jobs and Family Services. SNAP benefits helped 17,013 of the county’s children in July.

DCF sounds alarm over proposed 3SquaresVT eligibility changes (WCAX, August 6, 2019)
The Vermont Department of Children and Families (DCF) estimates that 5,200 households, or about 13 percent of the program’s caseloads, could lose their SNAP benefits, called 3SquaresVT in the state, if the proposed eligibility change takes affect. In addition, the change could affect the eligibility of 4,500 children receiving free or reduced-price school meals. DCF is planning to provide comments in opposition to the proposed SNAP rule change.

Proposed SNAP Rule and School Meal Eligibility

Free school lunches for SF students threatened by federal cuts (San Francisco Examiner, August 3, 2019)
USDA’s proposal to limit SNAP eligibility would mean that 18,000 students in the San Francisco Unified School District could lose their eligibility for free school meals. “The proposed change at the federal level would not allow California to take into account the higher cost of living here for families applying and trying to qualify for food stamps,” said Jennifer LeBarre, the district’s director of student nutrition services. In addition, if fewer students are eligible for SNAP benefits, there will be fewer students certified to receive free meals, and then some schools would become ineligible to provide free school meals through the Community Eligibility Provision, said LeBarre. California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently criticized the proposal on Twitter.

17,000 Washington students could lose free meals over food stamp changes (Q13, August 3, 2019)
While 17,000 Washington State students are at risk of losing free school meals if USDA’s proposed SNAP regulation takes effect, the number could be higher. Schools eligible for, and offering free meals through, the Community Eligibility Provision, could see their eligibility numbers drop as a result of students losing SNAP benefits. The change would jeopardize the academic future of these students, said Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA).

District says free breakfast, lunch program has been a success (St. Augustine Record, August 3, 2019)
Since starting to offer free school meals to all students through CEP, Marquez Jackson, principal at Crookshank Elementary in Florida, said more students show up early for breakfast, which boosts attendance numbers, and the students who ate breakfast showed better focus on their schoolwork. CEP will continue to offer free meals to students in St. Johns County when school begins on August 12. However, the proposed SNAP rule change could affect which schools are eligible for CEP, and nationally 500,000 children would be at risk of losing access to free school meals.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Initiatives to Make SNAP Benefits More Adequate Significantly Improve Food Security,
Nutrition, and Health

FRAC’s paper analyzes why SNAP benefits are inadequate, reviews the body of research showing positive effects from more adequate SNAP benefits, and concludes with some of the key policy solutions that can improve benefit adequacy.

Read more
Summer Nutrition Reports

Why some children go hungry in the summer (The Week, August 3, 2019)
According to FRAC, only a fraction of the children who received free or reduced-price school lunch also receive free summer meals. Lack of transportation to meal sites is a major factor contributing to low participation. A bill in Congress introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) aims to help expand summer meal participation. Another bill in the House of Representatives would expand the summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program. “If kids can be at summer sites that are providing much-needed child care, that’s the best opportunity, but in places where there are fewer summer food sites, the model that gives families a summer EBT card, which allows them to purchase food during the summer months … is a really important strategy,” said Crystal FitzSimons of FRAC.

When School’s Out For Summer in Colorado, The Kids Who Depend On Free Or Reduced Lunches Can Go Hungry (Colorado Public Radio, August 7, 2019)
According to FRAC’s summer nutrition report, Colorado improved its summer nutrition program participation. However, while nearly 400,000 students are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch during the school year, only 9 in 100 of those students receive free summer meals. Also, participation in the rest of the country decreased. “I do think that most states could be doing better and should be doing more,” said Crystal FitzSimons of FRAC. “Losing participation last summer I think really speaks to the need to redouble our efforts to make sure that kids have access to meals during the summer months.” Between 2013 and 2018, Colorado added 190 summer meal sites.

Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)

Lake County students to get free lunches again this year (Daily Commercial, August 7, 2019)
Florida’s Lake County School District again will be offering free meals to all students in the district through CEP. “Not only does this approach reduce burdens for both families and school administrators, but it helps ensure that students receive nutritious meals,” said Linda Milliken, the district’s supervisor of meal services. Milliken said that last year, CEP helped in increasing the number of students eating breakfast at school by 36 percent across the district, and the number of students eating school lunch by 20 percent. According to FRAC, more than 4,600 school districts participated in CEP last year.

‘Breakfast After the Bell’ comes to Finley students (NBC Right Now, August 7, 2019)
Finley School District in Washington State will begin offering Breakfast After the Bell, which moves school breakfast into the classroom, when school begins on August 27. Finley elementary and middle schools both participate in CEP, which means that all Finley kindergarten through 8th grade students will receive the meal at no cost. FRAC’s Breakfast for Learning notes the growing body of research linking child hunger to poorer cognitive functioning and lower academic success. Absenteeism, tardiness, and school nurse visits also are more common when students experience hunger.

From FRAC Chat

Broad-based Categorical Eligibility and School Meals (FRAC Chat, August 9, 2019)
The Trump administration recently proposed a rule to gut states’ option to use broad-based categorical eligibility for SNAP. If adopted, the rule would eliminate SNAP benefits for 3.1 million people, and jeopardize more than 500,000 children’s access to free school breakfast and lunch. Broad-based categorical eligibility allows more families that get services funded by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to qualify for SNAP benefits if their net incomes are at or below 100 percent of the federal poverty line.

Low-Income People Need Better Participation and Representation in the Political Process. Advocates Can Help Make That Possible. (FRAC Chat, August 6, 2019)
August 6 marks the anniversary of the enactment of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a triumph of the Civil Rights era that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. Now in its 54th year, the efficacy of the Act is in peril.

5 Ways to Expand Children’s Access to Summer Meals (FRAC Chat, August 5, 2019)
FRAC’s recently released summer nutrition reports find that the Summer Nutrition Programs served lunch to nearly 2.9 million children on an average weekday in July 2018, and only 1.5 million children received a summer breakfast during the same period. In the upcoming Child Nutrition Reauthorization, Congress has the opportunity to expand — substantially — children’s access to summer meals. Here are five strategies Congress can employ to strengthen and improve children’s access to the Summer Nutrition Programs: