- Contact your local legislators. Sound daunting? It's not. Simply click here to sign a letter asking your state legislator to make hunger a priority in Texas. Better yet, have every one at your table sign one. This one act may make more of a difference than a week of volunteering.
- Donate to your local food bank. Got cans? Great. Got cash? Better. Although nothing beats the warm feeling of collecting cans for the hungry, in reality your local food bank can do a lot more with your dollar.
- Join the movement. If you believe that hunger is unacceptable in a state as great as Texas, then sign up for Feeding America's Hunger Action Center. You'll learn a lot about the problem, and get a very occasional email asking you to lend your voice to the cause.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
The truth is, existing federal programs appear to have very little to do with eating habits. Years of research on the effects of SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) on diet concluded that SNAP participants eat more (as is the point of the program), but not very differently from their neighbors.
Likewise, a new USDA report released last week concludes that participation in the federal school meals programs is "not significantly related" to students' waistlines.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
After SNAP (formerly Food Stamps), school lunch is the largest anti-hunger program in the country, and a potent lever for changing the way children learn about food and healthy habits. Unfortunately, school lunch in Texas doesn’t reach all the children who need it due to stigma and difficulty enrolling eligible families. Food quality also suffers due to low reimbursement rates, competitive junk foods outside the cafeteria, a thicket of conflicting nutrition rules and a general feeling that school lunch is “welfare food.” Congress can improve the NSLP by:
- Forcing competitive foods to meet the same science-based standards as cafeteria food (S.934 / H.R.1324)
- Eliminating the "reduced price" lunch category to cut red tape and feed more children
- Making the successful Philadelphia "Universal Free" model a national option (S. 1226 / H.R. 2803)
- Improving direct certification through other programs to save paperwork & enroll more eligible families (S. 1343)
- Simplifying nutrition standards to allow for local food sourcing & more commonsense rules
School breakfast provides nutrition early in the day, when it is needed most for learning, and contributes to better behavior in the classroom. Unfortunately, participation in school breakfast in Texas is low due to stigma, and the difficulty in getting to school early before buses run. Congress can improve school breakfast participation by:
- Encouraging the adoption of universal breakfast, as Texas has done (H.R. 3277 / S. 1480)
- Promoting the use of in-class breakfast programs (H.R. 3277 / S. 1480)
WIC provides new & expectant mothers with nutritionist-approved food vital for early childhood development. Unfortunately, WIC is a discretionary program, and so annual funding routinely falls behind rising food prices and expanding caseloads in tough economic times. This makes it difficult for caseworkers to advertise slots that may not exist in the next fiscal year. Congress can improve WIC by:
- Appropriating enough funding in the FY 2010 budget to meet the growing need
- Excluding combat pay from income for the purposes of determining eligibility (S.581)
CACFP reimburses community organizations like food banks for providing after-school meals in settings that include tutoring, physical activity & nutrition education. Unfortunately, smaller organizations have difficulty meeting the program requirements using the small “snack” reimbursement, which is the highest reimbursement available in 44 states. Congress can improve CACFP by:
- Bringing the higher "supper" reimbursement option nationwide (S.990/H.R. 3321)
- Encouraging data-sharing between CACFP sponsors and local school districts
The summer nutrition programs recognize that hunger doesn’t take a vacation, and hungry children are missing school meals when school is out. Unfortunately, participation is very low in Texas, due to inconsistent outreach and a lack of organizations willing to sponsor sites. Congress can help more organizations sponsor sites by:
- Increasing reimbursement levels and and assisting in rural transportation costs
- Reducing sponsor paperwork where possible
- Decreasing area eligibility from 50% of the poverty line to 40% (H.R. 540)
Monday, July 6, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
In response, State Senator Judith Zaffirini and Representative Helen Giddings have introduced a bill that would help food banks provide healthy foods to at-risk children. The bill passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee this week.
“This legislation can help us combat the growing crisis of hunger among Texas youth by providing access to food choices that are vital for nutrition education and behavioral change," said Zaffirini in a statement. "What’s more, it would support and extend existing efforts by nonprofit agencies.”
The Texas bill, HB 1622 would address the problem by distributing healthy staples among existing networks maintained by food banks statewide.
“The passage of House Bill 1622 would go a long way to help get healthy food to children who are food-insecure, the children who linger in the school cafeteria and look for leftovers, those that return to school on Monday tired and weak from a weekend of undernourishment,” Eric Cooper, director of the San Antonio Food Bank told the Express News.
Legislators are meeting this week to decide the fate of the bill. You can tell your state legislator to support the bill here!
Monday, May 4, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
- 44% of respondents said the economy was the city's most serious problem, up from 15% the previous year.
- 25% admitted having trouble buying groceries to feed their families.
Monday, April 20, 2009
- In the Amarillo region, United Supermarkets partnered with the High Plains Food Bank to donate meat and other perishables. United estimates it will provide 5,000 lbs./month to the food bank, which is seeing double the number of families it fed at this time last year. "[It] couldn't have come at a better time," said a food bank spokesperson.
- Hunters in South Texas are firing up their participation in Hunters for the Hungry, a group that promotes the donation of harvested deer statewide. "Times are difficult," said one hunter. "And there are a lot of hungry people who could use all that venison."
Friday, April 17, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
This great video from the Capital Area Food Bank in Austin captures the faces of child hunger in Texas, and one of the key programs fighting it - Kids Cafe.
Kids Cafe and programs like it would directly benefit from the passage of Texas Senate Bill 944 / House Bill 1622.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
- SNAP offices in Fort Worth are seeing a "dramatic increase" in applicants. "What we saw in January we believe could be our first wave, but it’s only one month of data," said a spokesperson.
- Offices in Laredo are being flooded with requests. “We have people literally like this. Lines from the windows back as far as our restroom doors,” said office manager Terri Werth.
- Officials estimate that only 67% of those eligible are receiving the benefit, translating to lost federal aid - as much as $173 million in cities like Dallas.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
- Food Stamps - $19.9 billion for the national Food Stamps Program, translating to a one-time increase in benefits of 13.6%. This will bring approximately $1 billion in food stamps benefits to hungry Texas families, and create $1.73 billion in economic stimulus here in Texas wherever the benefits are spent.
- WIC - $500 million for the national Women, Infants & Children (WIC) program to support increasing caseloads. Texas' share will depend on the number of new enrollees this year.
- Charitable Food - $100 million to the national Emergency Food & Shelter Program (EFSP) , and $150 million to the national Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) , both of which provide food to struggling Texas food banks.
- Senior Meals - $100 million nationally to Meals on Wheels.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
"It's not that I don't want to eat healthy or anything but I would much rather eat something than nothing at all," Angelle Mendez, a 34 year-old Texan mother told Scripps News. "Plus, it's not exactly the best time to be picky, I also have other people to feed at home."
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Monday, February 9, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
"Last week at Hillcrest Elementary near Austin, more than a hundred children huddled in the early evening around steaming plates of rice, baked beans with ham, and plums all prepared from scratch.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
These anecdotes are borne out in data from West Texas school districts, which show a surge in applications for free and reduced-price school lunches. 62% of children in the Amarillo school district are now eligible, compared to 58% just last year, according to the Amarillo Globe-News.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Participating food banks then ground the nuts into peanut butter, a healthy, high protein staple that is difficult for cash-strapped emergency food providers to obtain.
"This is a great example of how local businesses can help out Texans who are in need not only for this holiday season, but throughout the year," said Shelly Nutt, Texas Peanut Producers Board executive director. "A donation like this will help many, many people in our state by providing them with a nutritious, high protein food product."
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
- In Tyler, the "new poor" are draining supplies at the East Texas Food Bank. Meet a newly poor family, the Moores.
- In Dallas, the North Texas Food Bank is facing a $156K shortage needed to offset a 25% increase in demand.
- In Palestine - where 1 in 5 households make less than $15,000/year - social service providers are seeing a "dramatic increase" in families asking for help.
- In Houston, overwhelming demand has expanded the number of families relying on food stamps by nearly a third.
- In Taylor, food stamps caseloads are similarly up by 30%.