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…”

Farmers Markets and SNAP – California

New $2.5-million grant will help poor buy fresh, locally grown produce, By Russ Parsons, May 8, 2014, Los Angeles Times: “Market Match, an innovative program that aims to increase the amount of fresh produce available to low-income families by providing them matching funds to shop at farmers markets, has received a $2.5-million grant from First 5 L.A. that may as much as triple its reach over the next five years. The program provides a dollar-for-dollar match for all EBT and WIC recipients, up to $10 per week. The program has grown rapidly over the last four years, but this grant will allow it to expand its reach and standardize what previously had sometimes been a hodgepodge of rules and benefits…”

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 worries over WIC program grow, By Jake Grovum, October 10, 2013, Stateline: “By early next week, millions of women could learn whether benefits to help feed them and their young children will end on Nov. 1. As the government shutdown continues, states face the possibility that they’ll run out of funds for the federal nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children, commonly known as WIC. Federal guidelines typically require states to give 15 days’ notice to those enrolled in the program before benefits expire, and Nov. 1 could be the day funding dries up nationwide…”
  • Government shutdown: Cuts to social services would affect thousands of vulnerable Oregonians, By Yuxing Zheng, October 10, 2013, The Oregonian: “In a bustling office west of downtown Hillsboro far from the divisive halls of Congress, the federal government shutdown has left some of the most vulnerable Oregonians fretting over how they’ll pay rent, heat their homes or simply eat…”
  • Pa. focuses on social services, not federal parks, By Marc Levy (AP), October 10, 2013, Philadelphia Inquirer: “A partial federal government shutdown could eventually force the state to mothball social services programs that serve women and children, top aides to Gov. Tom Corbett said Thursday, dismissing the possibility that Pennsylvania would spend its own money to reopen shuttered national parks like Independence Hall. It was the 10th day of a partial federal government shutdown, with no end in sight. For the Corbett administration, that means putting off payments and guarding cash reserves with the goal of maintaining vital services for children and families who normally receive federal money…”
  • Unemployment claims surge, partly due to shutdown, By Annalyn Kurtz, October 10, 2013, CNNMoney: “First-time claims for unemployment benefits suddenly jumped last week, marking the biggest one-week rise since Superstorm Sandy left thousands of people temporarily out of work. The rise was partly due to the government shutdown, as well as other temporary factors, the Department of Labor said…”

Government Shutdown and Affected Services

  • Government shutdown jeopardizes low-income families, Associated Press, October 4, 2013, Patriot-News: “Jacob Quick is a fat and happy 4-month-old with a big and expensive appetite. Like millions of other poor women, Jacob’s mother relies on the federal Women, Infants and Children program to pay for infant formula — aid that is now jeopardized by the government shutdown. Pennsylvania and other states say they can operate WIC at least through the end of October, easing fears among officials that it would run out of money within days. But advocates and others worry what will happen if the shutdown drags on beyond that…”
  • More than 5K Ariz. families denied welfare checks, By Ronald J, Hansen, October 3, 2013, Arizona Republic: “More than 5,000 low-income Arizona families failed to get their welfare checks Thursday in one of the more tangible early effects of the federal government shutdown. The group included people who had been approved for cash assistance, which averages $207 per person, but were not paid because money for the federally funded, state-run program had run out. About 11,000 other families already had received their aid this month, but their benefits could be affected if the political stalemate in Washington stretches into November…”
  • If government shutdown persists, N.H. social services could start to run short, By Ben Leubsdorf, October 3, 2013, Concord Monitor: “Despite the government shutdown, the federally funded safety net for low-income New Hampshire residents appears intact for now. But if the shutdown continues into late October or beyond, state officials and local agencies are worried they’ll begin to run out of money for programs that help supply poor people with food, fuel and child care…”
  • No government reports in shutdown; economists left in limbo, By Ann Belser, October 4, 2013, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “On the first Friday of every month, a host of people are ready at 8:30 a.m. to click into the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. It is at that moment that the bureau releases some of the most economically sensitive data it has: the monthly report on national employment, which includes the unemployment rate, the number of jobs created and the averages of wages and numbers of hours worked. The information regularly moves the financial markets…”
  • U.S. government shutdown claims latest victim: September unemployment report, By Ed Beeson, October 3, 2013, Star-Ledger: “Those who keep watch on how many jobs the U.S. adds each month will have to wait longer for September data. The U.S. Labor Department announced today that its monthly report on the country’s employment situation won’t be released Friday as scheduled, thanks to the federal shutdown. A new release date hasn’t been scheduled, the agency added…”

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…'”

Childhood Obesity – South Carolina

SC needs more action on obesity, August 26, 2013, Greenville Online: “South Carolina is moving backward in its fight against childhood obesity, at least according to one set of data that was recently released. The information suggests that more effort is needed to encourage healthier diets and more exercise for children — especially children in low-income families.In the four years from 2009 to 2012, the percentage of South Carolina children between 2 and 4 years old in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant and Children who are obese increased to 15.6 percent from 13.3 percent. It was a higher increase than any of 40 states included in a study of WIC…”

Sequestration Cuts and Safety Net Programs

  • Advocates warn sequester could mean big cuts for the low-income, By Pam Fessler, February 26, 2013, National Public Radio: “Many programs affecting low-income Americans — like food stamps, Medicaid and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families — are exempt from across-the-board spending cuts set to go into effect March 1. But many other programs are not, and that has service providers scrambling to figure out how the budget stalemate in Washington might affect those who rely on government aid…”
  • Sequestration’s effects: WIC program may cut free food to low-income children, Bloomberg News, February 22, 2013, Newsday: “Four-year-old children in low-income families who receive free milk, fruit and vegetables through a U.S. government nutrition program might be turned away within weeks if federal spending cuts take effect March 1. Administrators with the Women, Infants and Children program say they would have to trim their caseloads by 600,000 applicants or participants across the country because of the spending cuts…”
  • Automatic US budget cuts would go deeper than the military in Virginia, to child care, elders, Associated Press, February 25, 2013, Washington Post: “Virginia’s huge military presence in the Washington suburbs and Hampton Roads would suffer the biggest blows if automatic federal budget cuts take effect, but education, child care such as Head Start, environmental programs and nutrition for elders would all feel the pinch…”
  • Nationwide cuts could trouble low-income children, seniors, By Alfred Lubrano, March 1, 2013, Philadelphia Inquirer: ” Milk could be taken from babies in low-income families if automatic federal budget cuts go into effect Friday. At the same time, meals normally delivered to senior citizens via Meals on Wheels might disappear – although not in Philadelphia, where the elderly will retain their food but might lose some access to free transportation instead. In addition, low-income children could lose their spots in Head Start, while child-care assistance might be trimmed as part of the 5.1 percent across-the-board cuts nationwide known as sequestration. But the key words for all involved are if and when…”
  • Jobless, cities could be first to feel budget pain, By Jim Kuhnhenn and Andrew Taylor (AP), February 27, 2013, Cincinnati Enquirer: “Who’ll be the first to feel the sting? Jobless Americans who have been out of work for a long time and local governments that are paying off loans to fix roads and schools are in tough spots when it comes to the automatic federal budget cuts that are scheduled to kick in Friday. About 2 million long-term unemployed people could see checks now averaging $300 a week reduced by about $30. There could also be reductions in federal payments that subsidize clean energy, school construction and state and local public works projects. Low-income Americans seeking heating assistance or housing or other aid might encounter longer waits…”
  • State reverses decision on suspending federal jobless benefits, By Mary Beth Schneider, February 27, 2013, Indianapolis Star: “After a torrent of criticism, Gov. Mike Pence’s administration reversed its decision to suspend extended federal unemployment benefits for about 32,000 jobless Hoosiers. The state Department of Workforce Development quietly posted a notice on its website Saturday telling out-of-work Hoosiers they’d be out of a check because of federal budget cuts from the sequestration that Congress and the White House have been unable to avert. Indiana was the only state to take that step…”
  • Arizona jobless could see compensation reduced, By Josh Brodesky, March 1, 2013, Arizona Republic: “More than 20,000 Arizonans, already jobless for months, will see their unemployment checks shrink if mandatory federal spending cuts take effect. The roughly 10 percent cut is arguably the most pressing way many of the unemployed will feel the effects of sequestration, which will trim $85 billion from the federal budget if lawmakers don’t reach a deal. The cuts are set to take effect today as talks continue…”

Women, Infants, and Children Program

  • Why are fewer moms applying for safety net program?, By Pamela M. Prah, April 30, 2012, Stateline: “More Americans are collecting food stamps than ever before, but fewer needy mothers are using another federal government program that offers free baby formula and food for young children. There isn’t one answer to explain the recent decline in the number of women and young children in the program, commonly known as WIC, which the government officially calls the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. It makes sense that more Americans are getting food stamps since that program, known formally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is open to people of all ages who need help recovering from the recession. WIC specifically serves pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants and children up to age 5, a much narrower demographic. Still, it’s puzzling that WIC would be shrinking in these hard times, rather than getting bigger…”
  • Missoula health department says state’s WIC use lowest in U.S., By Keila Szpaller, April 28, 2012, The Missoulian: “The state of Montana has the lowest rate in the country – 30 percent – of serving children who qualify for federal help getting good nutrition, according to the Missoula City-County Health Department. ‘We suspect from our focus groups and from our experience with the program that the state has rules that are not federally required, and some of those rules are very difficult for the client at the checkstand, if not humiliating,’ said Ellen Leahy, director of the local health department. Leahy last week shared the news about the federal WIC program – Women, Infants and Children – with a committee of the Missoula City Council, and she said the local agency is ‘advocating and agitating’ to change burdensome state requirements…”
  • Muskegon County WIC food assistance enrollment, use down, By Megan Hart, April 16, 2012, Muskegon Chronicle: “Fewer Muskegon County families are using nutritional assistance for women and young children, officials say – a trend they hope to reverse. Public Health Muskegon County maternal child services supervisor Gwen Williams said about 7,620 Muskegon County people were enrolled in the Special Supplement Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (better known as WIC) as of February. That’s down from a high of 7,821 people in 2011, she said, and many more families are eligible…”

Women, Infants, and Children Program – Massachusetts

Child nutrition program faces cuts, By David Abel, April 16, 2011, Boston Globe: “Governor Deval Patrick and state lawmakers are proposing to slash more than 20 percent of state money from a decades-old program that helps thousands of low-income mothers afford formula and other basic foods for their children. The Women, Infants, and Children program, widely known as WIC, is regarded as a pillar of the social safety net, providing 130,000 low-income women in Massachusetts who are pregnant, breast-feeding, or raising young children with supplemental food, health care referrals, and nutrition education. Despite concerns raised by advocates for the poor, state officials said they have no choice but to make the cuts because of the state’s budget crunch…”

Farmers Markets and WIC – New Hampshire

Farmers markets help WIC recipients, By Jillian Jorgensen, July 26, 2010, Eagle-Tribune: “Farmers markets aren’t just a nice place to spend a summer afternoon shopping – they can also provide some extra fruits and vegetables to people who receive federal assistance. “I think it is a really important thing that will help decrease the obesity problem in this country, to make fresh fruits and vegetables available,” said Lisa Bujno, chief of the New Hampshire Population Health and Community Services Bureau. “It’s a really important part of a balanced diet.” The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program provides coupons to those receiving assistance through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children – more commonly known as WIC – and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program…”

2010 Agriculture Spending Bill

Bill increases funds for food stamps, nutrition, By Jim Abrams (AP), October 7, 2009, Chicago Tribune: “Nutrition, food stamp and dairy aid programs were among the winners as the House on Wednesday approved a $121 billion agriculture spending bill for the 2010 budget year. Reflecting the growing number of people scrambling to get by in tough economic times, the bill provides $58.2 billion for the food stamp program, a jump of $4.3 billion from last year. Similarly, the federal nutrition program for women, infants and children receives $7.3 billion, up $400 million from 2009 nonemergency levels. Aid to school and child care nutrition programs goes up $1.9 billion to $16.9 billion…”

Agriculture Spending Bill and Food Stamp Funding

Senate passes bill to help boost food stamps, By Andrew Taylor (AP), August 5, 2009, Concord Monitor: “The Senate yesterday passed a $124.3 billion agriculture spending bill that pays to add millions of people to the food stamp rolls as rising numbers of the jobless are forced into the program. Money for the federal school lunch program is going up 12 percent as well, while a popular program that gives additional food aid for poor children and pregnant women received a 9 percent increase in funding. The bill passed by a 80-17 vote. As the nation’s unemployment rate nears 10 percent, a record 34.4 million people – or one in nine Americans – were participating in the food stamp program as of May. That’s an increase of 650,000 people from the previous month and up 6 million from the same time last year…”