Here’s what’s recent in SNAP policy & public opinion.
[Content notes: Syrian refugees,bureaucratic spending, junk food,diabetes,obesity-hunger paradox,health care, Maine,Georgia,Chicago, child hunger,NYC,food banks,soup kitchens,Indiana,Hawaii, Ruth Riley]

Department of Agriculture: Syrian Refugees Must Be GivenFood Stamps – Following Georgia Gov Nathan Deal’s executive order instructing state agencies to not comply with refugee resettlement plans, the Dept of Ag said “No,man. That’s not how we do things here.” As refugees who have been in the US for some time are telling their personal accounts of the process, one thing that stands out is that the amount of time those with refugee status are allowed SNAP. It isn’t long. Those states who are refusing to help refugees are under the impression that those people will require long term support and that just isn’t the way it is.

Food Stamp Bureaucrat Living Swanky on Taxpayer Dollars – Check this out. Robin Bailey is the regional administrator in Atlanta for the Food and Nutrition Services, the dept that oversees SNAP. His office decor cost taxpayer’s $22,226.64 (the drapes alone were over $3,000).

I’m also annoyed that the USDA pays someone $56,632 to put positive stories in the news. I’m assuming positive news about SNAP usage? Uh,hey. I’m doing that for free. Write me a check,please.

Maine to SNAP Recipients: No Soda For You – LePage’s newest SNAP policing is to ban “junk food”. (more on LePage: Maine to institute asset test ) despite all the  input from nutritionists and food advocates that say not to do this.

The Cost of Hunger – $160 Billion – and It’s Not Just for Food – It turns out hunger is expensive. The health care industry spends $160B on hunger related issues caused by poor nutrition and lack of food.  CN in this article: discussion of obesity but in relation to obesity-hunger paradox explaining why people gain weight eating on a low budget.

mRelief uses technology to help Chicago’s needy – This new program is hoping to help reach the underserved people who are eligible for services but have accessibility issues. Around 25% of eligible people never even apply for various reasons (I know that not being able to take time off work to go to the DSS office is a big one).

Census Bureau: 21.6% of US Children—15931000–on Food Stamps in 2014 – That number seems atrociously high,doesn’t it? The US is second only to Romania in child poverty. “Of the approximately 73,623,000 children under the age of 18 in the United States in 2014, 15,931,000—or 21.6 percent—were in households that received food stamps”. That’s bad enough but then when you start to consider that there are families with children who are eligible but not applying or JUST barely qualify leaving those children unserved… not to mention families made ineligible in states with restrictive policies…. I think we have an even bigger issue on our hands here.

Food Bank of NYC: 9 out of 10 food pantries, soup kitchens say they’re serving more people – Since SNAP  budget cuts, food pantries and soup kitchens have felt the burden. In NYC, 36% had to turn away hungry people this past September because they ran out of food.

Indiana reinstates SNAP requirements -18,000 people are without benefits now

Hawaii awarded for improved processing of food stamp applications – FYI: States can be fined for not processing applications in a timely manner. Hawaii was awarded $660,000 for raising their processing time to 94% since 2010.

Ruth Riley helps break down myths, misconceptions about food stamps – Ruth Riley is an Olympic gold medalist and WNBA player who was raised on food stamps. “I often joke that when I was growing up, I was tall, lanky and uncoordinated,” Ruth Riley testified before Congress in late October. “But looking back, I can’t have imagined what my path would have been like if I was tall, lanky, uncoordinated and hungry.