National radio host Diane Rehm recently spoke with anti-hunger and policy experts about proposed cuts to food stamps (known in North Carolina as Food & Nutrition Services). To hear the discussion, click here.
The Carrboro Farmers’ Market is increasing access to fresh, local produce for FNS households. For the past several years, the market has encouraged FNS households to use their EBT cards at the market. The market recently installed an ATM machine, and fees from the machine are funding the EBT program. Read the full story from The Herald-Sun. Read about a proposed bill to expand EBT acceptance at farmers’ markets at North Carolina Health News.
USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon visited the State Farmers’ Market in Raleigh this week. Increasingly, more and more farmers’ markets throughout the country are accepting EBT cards, benefitting both FNS households and local farmers. A new grant opportunity will make it possible for 4,000 additional farmers’ markets to begin accepting EBT cards. Read an article from the News & Observer, and click here to watch a short video featuring Under Secretary Concannon.
Alleghany County residents are feeling the effects of the downturn in the economy. For these residents, knowing where their next meal will come free or even when they might eat again is a difficult reality. Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina works with community groups in Alleghany County to help address this problem, known as food insecurity. Food & Nutrition Services, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, also serves to alleviate food insecurity. However, in Alleghany County, only 44% of persons eligible for Food & Nutrition Services are enrolled. Participation among seniors is even lower, 27%. To read the full article in The Alleghany News, click here.
A recent article by AARP highlights efforts to reach seniors who face food hardship. One way of addressing food hardship among seniors and other groups is encouraging them to apply for Food & Nutrition Services (FNS). FNS participation among seniors is low compared to other groups; only about 30% of eligible seniors receive FNS benefits in North Carolina. The NC Association of Feeding America Food Banks is helping to enroll seniors (and other eligible groups) in FNS, thereby reducing the need for seniors to decide between purchasing food or paying for utilities or health care. This outreach is desperately needed, as a new Census poverty measurement reveals that nearly 16% of seniors live in poverty, primarily due to high out-of-pocket medical expenses.
The U.S Census Bureau recently reported that 46.2 million Americans lived in poverty in 2010. While harsh economic conditions and high unemployment create challenges for many households, Food & Nutrition Services (known as SNAP nationally), helped an estimated 3.9 million Americans stay above the poverty line in 2010. Households receiving Food & Nutrition Services are able to use their benefits to purchase food, which frees up money for other necessities, such as utilities and medicine. To read the full summary from the Food Research & Action Center, click here.
USDA Undersecretary Kevin Concannon recently addressed common misconceptions about SNAP (known in North Carolina as Food & Nutrition Services or FNS). Undersecretary Concannon noted that of the record 44 million Americans receiving SNAP benefits, more than half are children, elderly, and the disabled. The increase in SNAP participation is due in large part to the harsh economic conditions that continue to make it difficult for Americans to put enough food on the table. In addition to easing food hardship for those that receive SNAP, the program benefits us all, as it is estimated that for every $5 in new SNAP benefits, about $9 in economic activity is generated. Undersecretary Concannon further states that USDA has taken successful steps to reduce fraud and ensure payment accuracy. To read the full article in the Stokes News, click here.
The North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services (NC DHHS) will be providing food assistance to individuals and families living in counties affected by the tornadoes on April 16th. To learn who is eligible and how to get assistance, please visit the NC DHHS website.