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Issue #33, August 14, 2017

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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

SNAP is a food program — not a jobs program — TribTalk, August 7, 2017
In this op-ed, Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas, notes that SNAP was designed as an income support to help vulnerable people stave off hunger — it was never intended to serve as a jobs program. Most SNAP participants are children, seniors, or people with disabilities, and the majority of SNAP recipients who are able to work already do — just not at jobs that let them escape poverty. Cole notes that Congress should consider ways that SNAP can act as an effective bridge to stable work for the unemployed and underemployed, "but not in a way that undermines SNAP’s role in ensuring every American has enough food to build a healthy, productive life."

Summer Nutrition Programs

Meet Up and Eat Up underway in Avondale School District — C & G News, August 9, 2017
Michigan is offering free summer meals for low-income children through the statewide Meet Up and Eat Up program, which allows students, including those who rely on free and reduced-price school meals during the school year, to continue receiving healthy meals in the summer. Children and teens 18 and younger can get free breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday at over 1,700 Meet Up and Eat Up sites throughout the state. “Too many families across Michigan are struggling, and we can’t have children going hungry in the summer when programs like this are available,” said State Superintendent Brian Whiston.

Editorial: Jim McGovern continues valiant fight against food insecurity — Greenfield Recorder, August 10, 2017
Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) recently made a sweep through his district to check in on the Summer Nutrition Programs. “These are incredibly vital programs,” McGovern said. “Our kids need access to nutrition year-round.” After visiting a meal site, McGovern was reminded of the transportation issues that often plague these programs in rural areas like western Massachusetts. McGovern and the other state lawmakers and officials discussed using a food truck to deliver meals to more isolated areas. The authors of this editorial note that it is always more compelling and convincing for legislators to see first-hand the impact that the Summer Nutrition Programs have on communities.

School Lunch Shaming

Stafford School Board mulls policy change to eliminate ‘lunch shaming’ — Free-Lance Star, August 9, 2017
The U.S. Department of Agriculture now requires all school districts to have policies in place for what to do when students do not have money in their account or in hand to pay for school meals. Many schools — including Stafford County Public Schools — are taking this opportunity to rethink their unpaid school meal fee policies. Stafford’s Student Nutrition Department recommended to the school board that the modified meal policy (cheese sandwich, fruit, and milk) be eliminated for the 2017–2018 school year. This means students would receive a standard hot lunch regardless of their financial situation. “Most of us have seen this national trend emerging, and we need to take care of it so kids aren’t hungry during the school day,” said Scott Hirons, Stafford School Board member.

Afterschool Meals

Trump’s proposed after-school cuts could lead to more hungry kids, lower test scores —Hechinger Report, August 7, 2017
Anti-hunger advocates, social service providers, school officials, and parents and caregivers in Mississippi and across the country are paying attention to the federal government’s proposals to slash vital programs and relax school meal standards that have helped combat poverty and low academic performance in one of the nation’s poorest states. Researchers have found that more meals for school children, and specifically more nutritious meals, benefit kids in a myriad of ways in both the short and long terms. Recent studies indicate the impact of healthier meals is even greater on low-income children. “I think there is a disconnect between the policy makers and the reality in many places,” said Michele Leardo, assistant director of the Institute for Education and Social Policy at New York University. “They haven’t experienced what it’s like to go home and not get a meal. I think they are out of touch with what these kids face, and how vital these programs really are.”

School Breakfast Program

Kids can’t learn when they’re hungry. So I decided to give students free breakfast — Bangor Daily News, August 7, 2017
Louise Dean, food service director for Regional School Unit 39 in Maine, says that one of the hardest parts of her job is seeing kids arrive at school hungry. According to research, she notes in this op-ed, children are more likely to act out, have lower test scores and poorer school attendance due to hunger. In Dean’s district, 75 percent of morning visits to the school nurse are reportedly due to hunger. One way to reach more students with school breakfast is to offer it after the bell and in the classroom. When Dean’s district implemented this practice in two elementary schools, they saw a 350 percent increase in breakfast participation over a three-month period. With traditional breakfast before the bell, the district was feeding about 50 kids each day. Now, they are feeding around 190 students.

Community Eligibility

Free breakfast, lunch meal program to continue this school year — Livingston Parish News, August 9, 2017
Students in Louisiana’s Livingston Parish schools started the school year with the continuation of free breakfast and lunch in their cafeterias. In October 2016, the school system adopted community eligibility for the 2016–2017 school year. Through community eligibility, the district will provide meals at no charge to all students through the 2020–2021 school year. “This is a tremendous cost-savings opportunities for our families, many of whom are still struggling to recover from the devastating flood damage,” from the Great Flood of 2016, said Rick Wentzel, Livingston Parish school superintendent.


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