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FRAC WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST

Issue #49, December 4, 2017

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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Elderly and disabled Irma food aid applicants can do phone interviews with DCF
— Miami Herald, November 28, 2017
The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) received federal approval for seniors 60 and over and people with disabilities to interview over the phone for emergency food assistance. Individuals were able to do the interviews for Disaster SNAP (D-SNAP) on December 2 and 3. Multiple advocacy groups had brought a lawsuit against DCF, charging the agency with not providing proper accommodations for elderly and disabled people to sign up for benefits. Tens of thousands of applicants faced long lines beginning with the first round of distribution in October. DCF said they processed more than 1 million D-SNAP applications and administered benefits for more than 3 million Florida residents.
   

Seniors drawing food stamps at record levels in wake of downturn — Ventura County Star, November 25, 2017
The number of Ventura County, California, seniors over 60 receiving SNAP benefits has increased by two-thirds from 2013 to 2017. Financial need, made worse by the recent recession, and an outreach program by FOOD Share, the county’s regional food bank, are responsible for the increase. In addition, the SNAP application process has been made simpler for seniors.
   

Massachusetts tries to enroll more seniors in food stamps with new Holyoke-based unit — Masslive.com, November 24, 2017
Massachusetts will open a statewide senior assistance office, which will help seniors apply for SNAP benefits, and the state will step up its efforts to find seniors who are eligible for benefits but have not applied. “A lot of seniors in the commonwealth that are very low income, and are not in nursing homes, are eligible for and not getting SNAP,” said Pat Baker, senior policy analyst at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. The organization found that 106,000 seniors over the age of 60 are likely eligible but are not receiving SNAP.

   

School Meals

San Antonio Districts Top List of Texas Schools Preventing Hunger
— Texas Public Radio, November 27, 2017
The Texas organization Children at Risk reports that the San Antonio school district ranks high in the state for student participation in school meal  programs. Schools with higher breakfast participation rates offer breakfast in the classroom or “grab-and-go” breakfast. Even when free breakfast for all students is served in the cafeteria, “you still have a lot of kids who don’t want to go down to the cafeteria and say that they are poor kids,” said Bob Sanborn, president and CEO of Children at Risk.
   

Stewartsville overturns lunch policy — Post Bulletin, November 27, 2017
The Stewartville School Board in Minnesota voted to provide school lunch to a student unable to pay, reversing a recent policy that allowed lunches to be taken away from students when their meal accounts had a negative balance. The new policy also keeps account balance discussions between district administration and parents. "We'd work with the family first," said superintendent Belinda Selfors, and families would receive assistance in applying for free or reduced-price school meals or setting up a meal payment plan.
   

Lawmakers Get Firsthand Look At School Breakfast Program — Patch.com,
Mass. State Sen. Joan Lovely (D–Salem), State Rep. Paul Tucker (D–Salem), and Rep. Thomas Walsh (D–Peabody) recently visited Carlton Innovation School to observe its school breakfast program, in preparation for voting on a bill that would require all high-poverty Massachusetts schools to serve breakfast in the classroom. The Greater Boston Food Bank and Project Bread assisted in outlining the breakfast program for the lawmakers. Rise and Shine Massachusetts, a coalition of food banks supporting the legislation, reports that 150,000 students in the state are eligible for free breakfast but do not participate because the meal is served before school starts. Breakfast participation has increased significantly due to similar legislation in other states.

   

College Student Hunger

Many college students going hungry, need donated food groceries and food stamps
— San Francisco Chronicle, November 23, 2017
According to the Alameda County Community Food Bank, more than 500 University of California (UC) students applied for SNAP since January, an increase from 111 in 2016 and 41 in 2015. The food bank assists students with applying for benefits. This service was offered once a month in the past; now staff show up once a week to help students apply.
   

KU Fights Hunger forms new committee to raise awareness about food insecurity — Kansan.com, November 29, 2017
Kansas University Fights Hunger has launched an initiative to train University faculty on SNAP to raise awareness about the program and help eligible students apply for benefits. A study by the KU Center for Community Outreach found that 54 percent of 6,000 undergraduate students surveyed responded they were food insecure. The study also found that many students did not realize they were food insecure — they thought they would need to be homeless or obtain food through "dumpster diving," and other similar ways, to be considered food insecure.

   

Volunteering

Want To Volunteer On Thanksgiving? You May Want To Wait For The Summer Instead
— International Business Times, November 22, 2017
The number of people offering to volunteer at food banks and soup kitchens increases during the winter holidays, and organizations find they must turn volunteers away. “One way to look at it is it’s not there’s too much attention in November and December – there’s just too little attention the rest of the year,” said Jim Weill, president of the Food Research & Action Center. “Hunger in the U.S. doesn’t peak around the holidays. It peaks in the summer when kids aren’t in school receiving school lunches and school breakfast.” Weill said food insecurity remains a serious year-round problem, “[a]nd we need serious year-round solutions to solve it.”

   

 

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