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University of Wisconsin–Madison
Poverty-related issues in the news, from the Institute for Research on Poverty

Category: Food and Nutrition

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

  • About 2 million low-income Americans would lose benefits under House farm bill, study says, By Glenn Thrush, September 6, 2018, New York Times: “Nearly two million low-income Americans, including 469,000 households with young children, would be stripped of benefits under the House version of the farm bill being considered this week by congressional negotiators, according to an analysis by a nonpartisan research firm…”
  • As Trump targets food stamps, hunger around the U.S. remains high, By Aimee Picchi, September 6, 2018, CBS News: “President Donald Trump is praising the ‘Trump Economy,’ touting how its ‘booming’ numbers are a reason to add work requirements for food stamps. But new government research shows that hunger remains higher than it was before the Great Recession…”
  • Trump weighs in on SNAP work requirements ahead of farm bill meeting, By Brakkton Booker, September 5, 2018, National Public Radio: “With a deadline looming and pressure on lawmakers escalating, a large bipartisan, bicameral conference committee gathered on Capitol Hill Wednesday for the first formal negotiations of the Farm Bill…”

Food Deserts and Food Swamps – Dallas, TX

On top of food deserts, Dallas’ Hispanic and black populations also flooded with food swamps, By Obed Manuel, August 16, 2018, Dallas Morning News: “Maria Amaya gazes at the Texas wildflowers growing in the butterfly-shaped garden at Edwin J. Kiest Elementary, fearless of the hefty mason bees buzzing by her. The scorching Texas sun shines down on her this morning. Beads of sweat roll down her forehead. Even when school’s out, Amaya and her six-year-old daughter, Sophia, work this community garden three to four days a week, tending to the herbs, Texas wildflowers and vegetables the school grows. When it’s time to harvest, Amaya takes home a small share to prepare healthy meals for her husband and three kids, something that helps her stretch the family’s single-income budget. But Amaya said she knows that she’s one of the lucky parents with the time to do this at the predominantly Hispanic school in east Dallas, an area that, on top of being identified as a food desert, is littered with what researchers have recently coined food swamps — areas where fast food options and convenience stores outnumber healthy food options…”

SNAP Job Training Programs and Work Requirements

  • This program is helping Kentucky’s food stamp recipients find jobs, By Tami Luhby, August 16, 2018, CNN: “Marsha Moses was more interested in working with blood than burgers. The Corbin, Kentucky, mother of two found herself on the job market after her husband was laid off last year and the family’s finances spiraled downward. She was concerned that she’d be forced to work in a fast food restaurant since she only had a high school degree and hadn’t been employed in several years. Then she found Paths 2 Promise, which provides food stamp recipients with job training and support…”
  • Georgia experiments with food stamp work training program, By Susanna Capelouto, August 13, 2018, Marketplace: “At a body shop in Atlanta, Leigh Anne Hatfield just finished taking apart the front of an SUV. ‘This is a brand new Toyota Highlander. Got smacked in the front,’ she said. Hatfield  said she loves her job here at the body shop. It’s her first job since she become a certified welder. A few month ago she was so poor, she had to apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP or food stamps…”
  • Michigan will require people to work for food assistance, By Marc Daalder, August 16, 2018, Detroit Free Press: “The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is sending more than 67,000 letters this week to people on food assistance who will soon be required to start working. The work requirements, which were already reimplemented in 14 counties, will snap back into place on Oct. 1 for the rest of the state…”

Summer Meal Programs – Maine

Summer meals take the edge off persistent child hunger in Maine, By Gillian Graham, August 5, 2018, Portland Press Herald: “Michelle McKinney was on her way home from picking up food at a Sanford food pantry when someone mentioned the free lunches served every weekday at schools and parks across the city. The news could not have been more welcome for the young mother and her husband, who are trying to stretch their single income to cover their $681 monthly rent, $400 car payment and groceries. For their children, it’s just another picnic in the park.

College Students and Food Insecurity

For many college students, hunger ‘makes it hard to focus’, By Michelle Andrews, July 31, 2018, National Public Radio: “As students enter college this fall, many will hunger for more than knowledge. Up to half of college students in recent published studies say they either are not getting enough to eat or are worried about it. This food insecurity is most prevalent at community colleges, but it’s common at public and private four-year schools as well…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

  • Trump calls on Congress to attach work requirements to food stamps, By Caitlin Dewey, August 2, 2018, Washington Post: “President Trump on Thursday expressed support for House Republicans’ plan to tighten food-stamp work requirements, pressing Senate Republicans to adopt the provision even though it would probably doom a major bill’s chances of passing their chamber…”
  • New Yorkers can still use food stamps at farmers markets under new agreement, By Bethany Bump, July 303, 2018, Albany Times Union: “Nearly 3 million New Yorkers who receive food stamps can continue to use them at farmers markets around the state following a new agreement the state reached with a software technology company…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

  • Changes to food stamps could deny benefits to thousands, By Alfred Lubrano, July 23,2018, Philadelphia Inquirer: “For Ceyeissha McKim, it’s all pretty simple: ‘If I lose food stamps, I don’t survive,’ said McKim, 26, a mother of three and a professional caregiver who works 25 to 30 hours a week in West Grove, Chester County. Her eligibility for food stamps could one day disappear, thanks to proposed changes in the benefits program, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP…”
  • Food-stamp use is still at recession-era levels despite job gains, By Reade Pickert and Alan Bjerga, July 19. 2018, Chicago Tribune: “Judging by the number of Americans on food stamps, it doesn’t feel like one of the best job markets in almost a half century and the second-longest economic expansion on record. Enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps, fell to 39.6 million in April, the most recent government data show. That’s down from a record 47.8 million in 2012, but as a share of the population it’s just back to where it was as the economy emerged from the longest and deepest downturn since the Great Depression…”
  • Why crackdown fears may keep legal immigrants from food stamps, By Teresa Wiltz, July 24, 2018, Stateline: “It’s that time of the week — food pantry day — and before the doors even open at the Spanish Catholic Center, the patrons begin queueing up, lugging roller carts and empty grocery bags, the line stretching out onto the hot sidewalk. Immigrants all, they hail from the Congo and Costa Rica, from Nicaragua and El Salvador, from Togo and Vietnam. Most are seniors. And all of them, they say, are afraid…”

SNAP and Farmers Markets

Some food stamp recipients may soon lose access to farmers market benefits, By Jane Black and Leah Douglas, July 9, 2018, Washington Post: “On Saturday morning, Ludy Arnold arrived at the H Street farmers market in Northeast Washington just minutes after it opened. Arnold is 70 and lives in nearby public housing for seniors. She comes every week, and has for the past four years, to buy fruit, greens and summer tomatoes with benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. That allowance is boosted by matching dollars, provided by a nonprofit group, so that Arnold has $20 to spend each week. ‘I only have my Social Security,’ she said. ‘So this is how I get my food. I depend on it.’ But technical difficulties may put an end to Arnold’s weekly shopping here…”

SNAP Participation – California

Why millions of Californians eligible for food stamps don’t get them, By Anna Gorman and Harriet Rowan, May 1, 2018, National Public Radio: “Millions of low-income Californians eligible for food stamps are not receiving the benefit, earning the state one of the lowest rankings in the nation for its participation in the program. Just three states — Utah, North Dakota and Wyoming — have lower rates of participation, according to the latest available federal data released this year. Meanwhile, California is among the leaders on enrollment in Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid, which also serves people living in low-income households…”

SNAP and Job Training

Can $1 billion help low-income Americans find jobs?, By Tami Luhby, April 20, 2018, CNN Money: “$1 billion a year for job training sure sounds like a lot of money. That’s how much Congressional Republicans want to give states to help food stamp recipients find work. It’s a huge increase over the $90 million in federal funding that currently flows to state training programs for those in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, as food stamps is formally known…”

Homelessness and Food Insecurity Among College Students

  • The hidden crisis on college campuses: Many students don’t have enough to eat, By Caitlin Dewey, April 3, 2018, Washington Post: “Caleb Torres lost seven pounds his freshman year of college — and not because he didn’t like the food in the dining hall. A first-generation college student, barely covering tuition, Torres ran out of grocery money halfway through the year and began skipping meals as a result…”
  • Hunger and homelessness are widespread among college students, study finds, By Vanessa Romo, April 3, 2018, National Public Radio: “As college students grapple with the rising costs of classes and books, mortgaging their futures with student loans in exchange for a diploma they’re gambling will someday pay off, it turns out many of them are in great financial peril in the present, too. More than a third of college students don’t always have enough to eat and they lack stable housing, according to a survey published Tuesday by researchers at Temple University and the Wisconsin HOPE Lab…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Food boxes, not stamps? Idea in Trump budget worries grocers, By Kristen De Groot and Gene J. Puskar (AP), March 5, 2018, Denver Post: “Finding fresh food in this tiny riverside community that was hit hard by the steel industry’s decline has always been a challenge. Then, seven years ago, Carl’s Cafe opened. The grocery store, near new government housing, offers cooking classes and a source of fresh, healthy food. Proprietor Carl Lewis even has customers sign a pledge: If he provides fresh produce, they’ll buy it. Five such purchases, and they get their sixth free. About half his customers pay with benefits from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, so the government’s proposal to replace the debit card-type program with a pre-assembled box of shelf-stable goods delivered to recipients worries him and other grocery operators in poor areas about their patrons’ nutrition, and their own bottom line…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

  • Rewards program encourages SNAP recipients to make healthy choices, By Teresa Wiltz, February 28, 2018, Stateline: “Cities and states are trying new ways to entice food stamp recipients to eat their fruits and vegetables. One approach that’s gaining popularity: offering rebates to low-income families when they buy fresh produce. A program in Massachusetts was so popular that it ran out of rebate money and had to be suspended…”
  • How might Trump’s food box plan affect health? Native Americans know all too well, By Maria Godoy, February 25, 2018, National Public Radio: “The Trump administration unleashed a flood of outrage earlier this month after unveiling a proposal to overhaul the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps. The plan would replace half the benefits people receive with boxed, nonperishable — i.e. not fresh — foods chosen by the government and not by the people eating them.  Among those horrified at the thought: American Indians who recognized this as the same type of federal food assistance that tribes have historically received, with devastating implications for health…”

Food Insecurity – Columbus, OH

One-third of families experience food ‘insecurity,’ double previous estimates, By Rita Price, January 26, 2018, Columbus Dispatch: “A study that looked at Columbus neighborhood ‘food environments’ found disparities in access, affordability and availability that could be much worse than previously understood. The results are yet another indication — one that isn’t always easy to see — of the city’s deep economic divides…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – North Carolina

North Carolina food stamp numbers are too good to be true, By Lynn Bonner, January 31, 2018, News and Observer: “An abrupt drop in food stamp use that had North Carolina leading the nation in the rate of people leaving the program turned out to be a fiction. Since last May, federal reports showed steep year-over-year drops in people enrolled in food stamps in North Carolina, with the participation rate declining faster than in any other state. In September 2017, the state reported fewer than a million people enrolled in food stamps, a low not seen since 2008 and one that represented a 40 percent decrease over 12 months…”

SNAP Eligibility System – Illinois

Food stamp benefits disrupted for thousands as state launches new eligibility system, By Greg Trotter, December 18, 2017, Chicago Tribune: “Tens of thousands of Illinois households aren’t receiving federal food stamp benefits leading up to the holidays because of problems with a state computer system. In 2013, the state’s Department of Human Services began rolling out a new computer system to administer entitlement benefits, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, more commonly known as SNAP or food stamps…”

SNAP and Drug Testing – Wisconsin

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker moving forward with drug testing some food stamp recipients, By Jason Stein, December 4, 2017, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Gov. Scott Walker is moving forward with an effort to drug test some food stamp recipients, with testing expected to begin in as little as a year absent action from lawmakers or the federal government…”

SNAP Application Process -Pennsylvania

More than 350,000 Pa. seniors take advantage of streamlined food-stamp application, By Kate Giammarise, November 13, 2017, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “More than a year after the state rolled out a vastly simplified application process for some senior citizens applying for food assistance, more than 350,000 older Pennsylvanians have used the streamlined tool. Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services introduced the easier application in June of last year, changing the form from a 24-page document that covered multiple assistance programs to a more manageable two-page application…”

Healthy Food Programs for SNAP Recipients

  • New program buoys purchases of fresh food with food stamps, By Rachel Alexander, November 9, 2017, Spokesman-Review: “Brandaleen Harper used to have trouble affording produce for herself and her son, Gabriel. Harper works part time in child care and said her food stamps often don’t stretch far enough to cover everything she’d like to buy. But a new program through the Spokane Regional Health District and the Washington State Department of Health is making it easier for people using food stamps to buy fruits and vegetables…”
  • Assembly approves giving Wisconsin food stamp users a discount on produce, healthy groceries, By Patrick Marley, November 7, 2017, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Some people who use food stamps would get a break on buying produce and other healthy groceries, under a bill the state Assembly overwhelmingly approved Tuesday…”

College Students and Food Insecurity

  • UC Irvine opens expansive food pantry as more college students struggle with hunger, By Teresa Watanabe, September 27, 2017, Los Angeles Times: “UC Irvine student Ernest Devin Rankin grew up in Anaheim on one meal a day as his disabled parents, who had six children, struggled to stretch food stamps and disability payments. When he got to college, he could only afford the cheapest dining plan, offering 100 meals a quarter. When those meals ran out, he asked friends for help or survived on $1 fast-food burgers, tacos and burritos…”
  • As many students nationwide grapple with hunger, California offers food assistance, By Hannah Harris Green, September 29, 2017, Marketplace: “Students all over the country are back on campus, which means anxiety about new roommates and classes. But new research tells us that a lot of those students also worry about getting enough to eat.  Emaline Friedman is one such student. She shops at the Pavilions grocery store at Melrose and Vine in Los Angeles, because it’s located close to where she lives, and offers a lot of fresh produce and organic food. She’s in Los Angeles taking care of an elderly relative while she writes her psychology dissertation at the University of West Georgia. She relies on California’s food assistance program, called CalFresh…”