School Meal Programs – Omaha, NE

OPS won’t expand free-lunch-for-all program to more schools, citing concerns over possible loss of aid, By Erin Duffy, July 18, 2017, Omaha World-Herald: “All students at six Omaha elementary schools have been able to eat free lunches for the past year and a half as part of a federal program intended to combat hunger at high-poverty schools. But the pilot program won’t be expanded to more of the Omaha district’s schools in the coming school year because of worries that it could affect the level of school funding the district receives…”

Summer Meal Programs – Minnesota

Summer Eats app helps Minnesota kids take bite out of hunger, By Shannon Prather, June 28, 2017, Star Tribune: “For kids who rely on free and reduced-price school lunches, summer break can be a hungry time. But there are nearly 700 sites across the state serving free, healthy meals to kids this summer — no reservations required — and a new smartphone app called Summer Eats Minnesota is making it easier for children and teens to find them. One additional perk of the app: It lists the menu at many locales…”

Military Families and Food Insecurity

When active-duty service members struggle to feed their families, By Dorian Merina, April 19, 2017, National Public Radio: “Kara Dethlefsen lined up early on a recent morning for the food pantry at the Camp Pendleton Marine Base near San Diego. She and her husband, both active-duty Marines, took turns holding their 4-month-old daughter. ‘We most like to get the avocados, lemons, some vegetables to cook up,’ says Dethlefsen, 27, who first heard about the pantry from an on-base nurse after giving birth.  ‘This probably saves us anywhere from $100-300 each time we come,’ she says. That’s key for her young family. Her husband is getting ready to transition to civilian life after five years of military service, and they’re not sure what financial challenges that could bring…”

School Breakfast Programs – New Jersey

More than half of low-income children get breakfast in school in NJ, By Diane D’Amico, February 14, 2017, Press of Atlantic City: “Almost 268,000 low-income children in New Jersey got free or reduced-price breakfast in the last school year, a 6 percent increase from the year before, according to a national report. But breakfast is still not readily available to every child eligible to receive it.  The annual School Breakfast Scorecard, released Tuesday by the Food Research and Action Center, shows New Jersey improved its national ranking from 23rd in 2014-15 to 19th in 2015-16…”

Food Insecurity – Missouri

Report shows more Missourians experiencing hunger, biggest increase in country, By Michele Munz, April 27, 2016, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “The percentage of households experiencing hunger in Missouri has more than doubled in the last decade, the highest increase in the country, according to a report released Wednesday by the University of Missouri…”

National School Lunch Program

Obama’s plan to give free lunches to millions more kids, By Roberto A. Ferdman, January 27, 2016, Washington Post: “The Obama administration will announce new plans Wednesday to launch a pilot program aimed at increasing poor children’s access to food through the National School Lunch Program. The pilot program will allow participating states to use Medicaid data to automatically certify students for free and reduced-price school lunches. Currently, families have to submit an application — a laborious process for parents and a costly one for schools — even when they have already proven that they are income-eligible through their participation in other government assistance programs…”

Hospitals and Food Insecurity

Some hospitals prescribe food, take other steps to fight food insecurity, By Christopher J. Gearon, December 8, 2015, US News and World Report: “At Boston Medical Center, physicians write prescriptions for food when patients don’t have enough to eat. Doctors in the center’s emergency department and more than 20 clinics screen all patients for hunger, writing those who struggle to feed themselves a script to the on-site Preventive Food Pantry. They write a lot of food prescriptions – enough to keep the food pharmacy serving 7,000 people each month…”

School Breakfast Programs

Schools use creative measures to serve breakfast to more students, By Yvonne Wenger, August 27, 2015, Baltimore Sun: “Waving her hands above her head, Kelly Leschefsky shouted over the morning rush at Perry Hall High School: ‘Come and grab your breakfast and take it to your classroom!’ A steady stream of students picked up cereal, cartons of orange juice, cinnamon rolls, bottles of milk and Pop-Tarts before the morning bell, entered their ID numbers on a keypad and headed to class. Some won’t actually pay, but that’s not apparent at the checkout line. The ‘Grab n’ Go’ carts at Perry Hall and elsewhere — at which the ID payment system keeps students from seeing whether their peers are buying the food or getting it free — are among several efforts statewide to ensure that more low-income children eat breakfast…”

School Gardens

School gardens help fruit, vegetables to flourish in low-income food deserts, By Sanya Mansoor, August 10, 2015, Christian Science Monitor: “Green classrooms, incorporated into high school curricula, have sprouted nationwide to educate teenagers about nutrition and include them in community gardening. Participating students invest their time and energy in providing their neighborhoods with ready access to healthy and affordable food. As a result, they may also improve academic performance and engagement at school and pass on their knowledge and habits to their families…”

Summer Meal Programs

Efforts to feed thousands of low-income children barely make a dent in child hunger, By Elisa Crouch, July 24, 2015, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “More than 1.1 million children in Missouri and Illinois qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch during the school year. But when school’s out, the vast majority of them go hungry. It’s a problem that has prompted a number of school districts, public libraries and social service agencies to set up summer feeding sites so that children can be guaranteed at least one or two meals a day. Thousands of children have benefited…”

Summer Meal Programs

For low-income kids, meals aplenty this summer, By Jennifer Calfas, June 25, 2015, USA Today: “A chorus of ‘thank yous’ filled the room as each child reached for his or her packaged meal.  Breakfast at the Barry Farm Recreation Center was served: A nectarine, a muffin and a carton of milk for each kid.  ‘These are things that they probably don’t eat at home,’ said Swandea Johnson-Denson, a recreation specialist who works closely with the kids at the center each day. ‘When they’re with us, we know they’re eating at least twice a day, five days a week.’  With few school lunches easily accessible during the summer season, a number of non-profits across the U.S. are providing more meals for low-income children. The Barry Farm Recreation Center is one of many hosting sites across the country…”

School Food Programs

Schools becoming the ‘last frontier’ for hungry kids, By Marisol Bello, April 5, 2015, USA Today: “America’s schools are no longer just a place for students to learn their ABCs. They are also increasingly where children eat their three squares. The classroom has become a dining room as more children attending public schools live in poverty. More than half of students in public schools — 51% — were in low-income families in 2013, according to a study by the Southern Education Foundation. The number of low-income children in public schools has been persistent and steadily rising over the past several decades. In 1989, 32% of children in public schools lived in poverty, the foundation says…”

School Breakfast Program

How our schools fail poor kids before they even arrive for class, By Roberto A. Ferdman, February 18, 2015, Washington Post: “One of the simplest ways to put poor kids in a position to succeed is to make sure they eat breakfast.   Studies have shown that eating the day’s first meal is not only associated with nutritional benefits, but also cognitive ones — especially for children.A 2013 study, for instance, linked breakfast consumption among children to higher IQs later in life.  A group of researchers in 1989 found that students who ate breakfast tended to perform better on standardized tests…”

Free School Lunch Program

Free lunch pilot program lets districts feed everyone at high-poverty schools, By Erin Duffy, December 15, 2014, Omaha World-Herald: “Omaha Public Schools officials hope a new free lunch pilot program being launched in six schools will speed up lunch lines, cut paperwork and fill more rumbling tummies. Starting Jan. 20, six high-poverty schools in north Omaha will start serving free meals to all students, regardless of income, no questions asked. Only one other school district in the state — Santee Community Schools, a reservation school in Niobrara with fewer than 200 students — has opted in for the program, a piece of the federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010…”

Hunger in America Report

  • Hunger in America: 1 in 7 rely on food banks, By Natalie DiBlasio, August 17, 2014, USA Today: “When Mary Smallenburg, 35, of Fort Belvoir, Va., opened a package from her mother to find cereal and ramen noodles, she burst into tears. Without it, she wouldn’t be able to feed her four children. ‘It got to the point where I opened my pantry and there was nothing. Nothing. What was I going to feed my kids?’ Smallenburg says, adjusting a bag of fresh groceries on her arm. Smallenburg’s family is one of 50 military families that regularly visit the Lorton Community Action Center food bank. Volunteers wave a familiar hello as she walks in the door…”
  • Hunger in America study shows south central Michigan has high need for food banks, By Linda S. Mah, August 18, 2014, MLive: “A national study on hunger and food insecurity that included research on an eight-county area in south central Michigan, points to high need and continued struggles to balance food issues with other basic needs. The Hunger in America study is released every four years. The Food Bank of South Central Michigan in Battle Creek coordinated an analysis of local hunger issues in Barry, Branch, Calhoun, Hillsdale, Kalamazoo, Lenawee and St. Joseph counties. Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes food bank works with the Food Bank of SCM to provide food to residents through a network of 24 food pantries…”
  • Study sheds light on broadening U.S. hunger problem, By Andrea Stone, August 18, 2014, National Geographic: “Dusti Ridge leans on her cane and waits patiently for her number to be called at Bread for the City, a food bank in southeast Washington, D.C. When she hears ’56,’ she steps into the nonprofit group’s pantry to find out what she’ll be eating for the next week. Kale, green peppers, yellow tomatoes, and dried cherries—perfect for a favorite brown rice recipe—go into her shopping bag. So does a whole chicken. But she passes on canned green beans; too much salt, she says…”

Women, Infants and Children Program

U.S. expands healthy food assistance to women, infants and children, Reuters, February 28, 2014, Chicago Tribune: “Some 9 million poor women and young children who receive federal food assistance under the U.S. government’s so-called WIC program will have greater access to fruits, vegetables and whole grains under an overhaul of the program unveiled on Friday. The U.S. Department of Agriculture hailed the revamping of its Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children as the first comprehensive revisions to WIC food voucher allowances since 1980…”

Government Shutdown and Affected Services

  • STATE: Shutdown: Big pain in Michigan in less than a month, By Charles Crumm, October 3, 2013, Dearborn Press and Guide: “Michigan can weather a federal government shutdown for a few days, and maybe as long as a month. But some federally-funded programs — food stamps, heating assistance, school lunches, child nutrition — will feel the impact of a shutdown soon, says Michigan Budget Director John Nixon. Nixon held a teleconference Tuesday afternoon to talk about the effect of a federal shutdown on federally-funded programs in Michigan…”
  • Government shutdown: How much will it harm the economy?, By Mark Trumbull, October 2, 2013, Christian Science Monitor: “The US government shutdown that began Tuesday is a nuisance to many Americans and a hardship for legions of federal employees, but its impact on the economy is expected to be only modest – at least at first. That’s the widely held view of forecasters. Economic damage could rise, however, if this partial halt of federal activity starts running longer than a week or two…”
  • Federal help for heating bills, food threatened by shutdown, Kentucky officials say, By Valarie Honeycutt Spears, October 2, 2013, Lexington Herald-Ledger: “Low-income Kentucky families who get federal help with their home heating bills, food for young children or child care could be the first to suffer from the partial shutdown of the U.S. government, officials said Wednesday. Federal assistance for home heating bills is expected to be delayed by a week or more instead of arriving during the first week of November, said Rob Jones, executive director of Community Action Kentucky…”
  • 9 million babies and mothers may be harmed by WIC shutdown, By Devon Merling, October 2, 2013, Deseret News: “The government shutdown is already impacting the vulnerable population of low-income moms and babies across the country who rely on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, commonly known as WIC…”
  • Shutdown already weighing on low-income Americans, By Joan E. Greve, October 2, 2013, ABC News: “The federal government’s partial shutdown is only two days old, but lower-income families have already been pinched by the ‘lapse of funding…'”

Government Shutdown and Affected Services

  • A federal government shutdown would deliver immediate, long-term hits to R.I., By Phillip Marcelo and Paul Edward Parker, September 30, 2013, Providence Journal: “As Monday’s midnight deadline for the federal government shutdown approached, Rhode Island agencies — from the Navy base in Newport to Head Start programs across the state — braced for impact. U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said the economic toll on the Ocean State would only increase the longer the congressional impasse lasted. The federal government is the state’s third-largest employer, with roughly 7,000 workers, according to the senator’s office…”
  • A government shutdown could hurt economy more now than it did in 1995, By Don Lee, September 30, 2013, Los Angeles Times: “The last time the federal government shut down, for three weeks in the winter of 1995-96, the American economy felt a jolt but recovered quickly. Things don’t look anywhere near as promising this time around.The nation is currently more than four years into an economic expansion with some momentum behind it. That also was the case in 1995. But this time, things are a lot more fragile…”
  • Park-goers, poor will be first hurt by shutdown, By Joe Garofoli, Justin Berton and John Coté, October 1, 2013, San Francisco Chronicle: “If the federal government doesn’t open for business Tuesday, park gates from Muir Woods to Yosemite National Park will slam shut. Many of the 169,000 federal employees in the Bay Area will be furloughed without pay, after Congress failed to avert the first shutdown in nearly two decades Tuesday night. Those who rely on food programs for the poor could feel the effects within days…”
  • WIC support for moms, babies threatened during shutdown, By Stephanie Condon, October 1, 2013, CBS News: “Low-income mothers, pregnant women, babies and young children who rely on government assistance to purchase food could see their help cut off now that the government is shut down. Nearly 9 million mothers and children receive benefits under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The federal program gives grants to states for supplemental food, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant women, new mothers, and to infants and children up to age five who are nutritionally at risk. The program serves 53 percent of all infants born in the U.S…”
  • Lengthy government shutdown would hit seniors, workers hard, By Randy Krehbiel, September 28, 2013, Tulsa World: “Seniors, travelers, the poor – and, of course, Oklahoma’s 48,000 federal employees – will likely be among the first to feel the government shutdown threatened by Congress’ inability to agree on a budget resolution, those who have looked at previous such events say. ‘All of these (effects of a shutdown) seem like inconveniences,’ said Oklahoma State University political science professor Brandon Lenoir, ‘and they would be inconveniences, (except) if the impasse lasts for weeks it becomes an effect … on livelihoods…'”

School Food Nutrition

School cafeterias, vending machines trading sugar, fat for more healthful fare, By Lenny Bernstein, September 27, 2013, Washington Post: “Any parent who has fixed a nutritious school lunch only to find it untouched in a backpack the next morning will be heartened by new federal rules that will take effect in schools nationwide in the fall of 2014. That’s when laws will require school vending machines, stores and ‘a la carte’ lunch menus to provide only healthful foods. So if a child hits the cafeteria line for pizza, the cheese on that slice will be relatively low in fat and sodium and the crust probably will be made from whole grains. And snackers will find nuts, granola bars and water in vending machines instead of candy bars, potato chips and sugary sodas…”

Food Insecurity in the US

  • USDA: Many Americans struggling to find enough to eat, By Christopher Doering, September 5, 2013, USA Today: “Americans are having a hard time getting enough food as the economic downturn continues to weigh on households throughout the country, according to a report released by the Agriculture Department Wednesday. The report said 14.5% of households, or about 49 million people in 17.6 million households, were food insecure during 2012. While the figure was down slightly from 14.9% reported in 2011, the highest level since the USDA began collecting data in 1995, the government said the decline could be the result of the sampling pool used to complete the study…”
  • Millions still struggle with hunger in U.S., USDA finds, By Tony Pugh, September 4, 2013, Anchorage Daily News: “Some 17.6 million U.S. households had trouble feeding their family members at times last year as ‘food insecurity’ remained at near-record levels for the fifth straight year, according to a government report released Wednesday…”